ATHENS, Feb 22 ― Greece in 2023 posted a new record for tourism, the central bank said yesterday, despite a prolonged heatwave and a series of destructive wildfires that necessitated thousands of evacuations.

Over 32.7 million people visited the country last year, the Bank of Greece said in releasing preliminary figures, despite the wave of wildfires around the country that left at least 26 dead.

In some areas, temperatures exceeded 46 degrees Celsius (114.8 Fahrenheit).

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Tens of thousands of visitors had to be evacuated on the islands of Rhodes and Corfu in July. A month later, fires devastated a key national park near the border with Turkey.

Massive floods then struck central Greece in September.

In 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic, foreign arrivals were at a then record of 31.3 million.

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Revenue also set a new milestone with nearly €20.5 billion (RM106.4 billion) compared to 18.15 billion in 2019.

Compared to 2022, EU traveller flows rose 15.6 per cent while non-EU arrivals were also up by 20.8 per cent.

The bank is to release final figures in April. ― ETX Studio