Just days before the end of 2020, a year that profoundly hurt tourism in Greece, the British tour operator and airline Jet2 announced that it has added 135 extra flights to Greece in its summer 2021 programme.

The decision aims to cover the expected surge in bookings as a Covid vaccine is rolled out.

Capacity is being raised to Corfu, Kefalonia, Crete (Heraklion), Kos, Santorini, Rhodes and Zante with the additional flights a direct response to demand from holidaymakers.

“Demand from customers is telling us that flights and holidays to Greece are very much in demand for Summer 21″ Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said:  “We have responded quickly to that demand by adding more seats and holidays on sale to seven fantastic Greek destinations, and we know that they will be extremely popular.”

This is the latest of a series of similar announcements by international airlines that prepare for a “hot Greek summer”.

AEGEAN, the biggest Greek airline company, announced in December that it will expand its international network in the summer of 2021, with more than 100 destinations, including 5 new routes from France.

Between 17 to 20 aircrafts will operate direct flights from 7 regional bases in Greece (Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Rhodes, Chania, Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos) offering a total of 65 international scheduled routes. 50 additional rotations will be dedicated to charter flights to serve the popular Greek islands.

EasyJet, Ryanair, WIZZ Air have also announced new routes to Greece, expecting a booming summer of foreign holidays.

Lufthansa, on the other hand, has already raised capacity to Greece for the Christmas season, after a surge in bookings from German tourists. The German airline is expected to double its operations from current levels in 2021, to cover part of the 2020 losses.

The airline news are music to the ears of the Greek tourism industry. Greece has lost about 14 billion euros in tourism revenue this year, according to the country’s tourism confederation SETE.

Tourism arrivals fell 76% in the January-to-October period, the Bank of Greece data shows.

The GNTO #EndlessGreekSummer” campaign seeks to promote lesser known destinations, like the island of Leros

The Greek Ministry of Tourism believes that the way the country handled the pandemic crisis and the partial opening of tourism will enforce the “brand name” of Greece as an attractive and safe destination.

The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) prepares a new advertising campaign to attract more tourists from markets such as the USA, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. It will also target  higher-income markets, such as Norway, Austria and Switzerland.