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The South Aegean Islands will play a significant role in Greece’s tourism success in 2021.

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Despite the challenging climate produced by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the South Aegean Region is playing a significant role in Greece’s tourism success story this year, according to the South Aegean Tourism Initiative.

The South Aegean Tourism Initiative was founded in January 2021 by the region’s governor, George Haztimarkos, and is made up of tourism, commerce, and hotel players, as well as their related associations and chambers.

The passenger flow of direct international flights to the airports of the Cyclades and Dodecanese islands has already exceeded the arrival numbers for the entire 2020 tourism season by more than 500,000, according to the authority.

According to figures from Fraport Greece and the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), 1,723,000 people had landed at five South Aegean international airports (Rhodes, Kos airport, Santorini, Mykonos, and Karpathos) by August 22, compared to 1,189,896 landings for the entire 2020 tourism season.

August proved to be a particularly active month for Rhodes, with about 290,000 direct international arrivals in the first 20 days of the month, bringing the total number of foreign tourists to 780,000. According to figures from Fraport, Rhodes received 584,415 tourists in 2020.

Kos also outperformed last year in terms of tourism, with more than 387,000 passengers visiting the island by August 22, surpassing last year’s total of direct international visitors.

Furthermore, the South Aegean Tourism Initiative predicted a “spectacular” rebound for Santorini and Mykonos in 2021, citing nearly quadrupled arrivals on both islands over the previous year.

More specifically, according to Fraport data, through August 22, arrivals on Santorini were reaching 280,000, up from 141,472 the previous year.

More than 250,000 international passengers have arrived at Mykonos airport, an increase of 120,000 over the previous year.

In the case of Karpathos, the organization reported that international arrivals have increased by more than 300 percent. The South Aegean Tourism Initiative, citing HCAA figures, stated that while Karpathos only attracted 8,237 visitors via direct international flights in 2020, the island’s foreign passenger flow had reached 27,500 by August 22 this year.

It should be noted that the following statistics does not include passengers flying domestically through Athens International Airport (AIA) or people using Greece’s ferry system.