Published at: 06-01-2024 - Latest update: 22-01-2024
Crete's Holiday Magic: A Spotlight on Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymnon Amidst Resurgent Christmas Travel in 2023

The 2023 Christmas holidays witnessed an impressive 80% hotel occupancy rate in Greece, despite a 20% decline in tourist numbers compared to 2022. Marking the first Christmas without lockdown restrictions post-coronavirus, last year set the stage for a resurgence in holiday travel. Notably, Crete, with a focus on Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymnon, emerged as a significant attraction this season.

Lysander Tsilidis, the president of the Federation of Greek Tourist and Travel Agency Associations (Fed HATTA), outlined the most sought-after destinations for holidaymakers in 2023.

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Emphasizing Crete, especially the cities of Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymnon, as prime destinations.

Among the popular Greek destinations are Ioannina, Zagorochoria, Tzoumerka in Epirus, Kastoria, Plastira Lake, Karpenisi, Arachova in Central Greece, Kalavrita, Nafplio, Kalamata in the Peloponnese, and areas around ski resorts. Traditional hotspots like Athens and Thessaloniki continue to attract visitors during this festive period.

Mr. Tsilidis highlighted that the average cost of excursions per person for Greek destinations ranges from 200-300 euros, while for foreign destinations, it varies between 600 and 800 euros, depending on the country.

In addition to European and Mediterranean options, far-flung destinations outside these regions draw tourists with higher financial capabilities. The president emphasized the availability of numerous travel packages for both domestic and international travel to cater to diverse preferences.

He also pointed out that the decline in the number of excursions is not exclusive to Greece, as one in four Europeans opts not to travel during the holidays for various reasons.

Regarding international destinations, Tsilidis mentioned popular places such as Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, parts of Croatia, Slovakia, Rome, Milan, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin in Germany, parts of Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, and Dubai. Additionally, the village of Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland, is gaining growing interest.

Affluent travelers are expressing interest in overseas destinations such as Southeast Asia, the Seychelles, the Maldives, Latin America, New York, and Los Angeles.