More specifically, according to the research, the numbers of tourists were highest on the islands of the southern Aegean (Cyclades and Dodecanese), on Crete, the Ionian Islands and on the mainland in central Macedonia and Attica. It appears that parts of the mainland such as the Peloponnese, Thessaly or western Greece are less attractive for visitors. Athens hosts the largest number of tourists as it serves as the gateway to the rest of the country. Most visitors stay just a few days to visit the major archaeological sites, before moving on.
According to the research, after 1960 the number of foreign tourist arrivals increased, a sign of economic growth. In 1960 the number of arrivals reached 399,438 while in 1970 it had increased by 303% (1,609,210 arrivals). This increase continued during the following decades. The number of tourists rose by 200% from 1970 to 1980, by 85% from 1980 to 1990, by 40% from 1990 to 2000.
Tourism contributes significantly to the economic well-being of Greece. “Tourism’s contribution to GDP is just over 15% and occasionally has exceed 18%. It is worth remembering that the country’s economic crisis did not affect the tourism industry, due to the fact that the economic crisis is an ‘internal’ phenomenon of the country, with little effect on foreign tourism demand,” said a professor from the University of Thessaly.