Athens is rapidly growing as a tourism destination in itself, while the share of foreign travelers who stay in short-term rented properties is increasing.

According to the monthly bulletin of the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (InSETE), international foreign arrivals in the Greek capital were up by 9.6 percent in October – or 49,000 people on an annual basis – reaching 563,580 travelers, which sector professionals say is a record for the month.

Athens has evolved into a leading city break destination with key features including the good weather, the archaeological sites and museums, as well as the impeccable hospitality, according to all visitor satisfaction surveys. All this has ranked the Greek capital among this year’s most distinguished cities for tourism in Europe, experts argue. Another factor for that is the particularly competitive prices compared with rivals such as Barcelona and Rome.

Over the first 10 months of 2019, Athens had 5.7 million visitors from abroad, up 11.6 percent year-on-year, matching the total for the whole of 2018. Back in 2012 the total number of foreign arrivals from abroad for the full 12 months came to just 2.5 million.

In just six years, tourism arrivals in Athens have more than doubled, as the capital is emerging as a major travel destination in its own right, with an exceptional record in visitor satisfaction, according to the 15th survey on Attica hotel guests conducted by the Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hoteliers Association and GBR Consulting.

In the period from 2012 to 2018, Athens International Airport recorded a rise in annual visitors from abroad from 2.5 million to 5.7 million, while data for this year up until September showed a further annual increase of 12 percent. Most of this demand (87 percent) concerned recreation visitors, of whom 31 percent headed to other destinations within Greece.