The increase in tourism this year, especially in certain islands of the Dodecanese complex, came from the 'air'. Low cost flights boosted the number of tourist arrivals mostly on the islands of Rhodes and Kos that marked a 23.77 increase on Rhodes and a 23.88 increase on Kos, in the first eight months of 2011.
Low cost flights were introduced in 2007 following agreements between the political leadership of the then autonomous Tourism Ministry and the local authorities of the target regions aiming to extend the tourism season in the most popular Greek destinations, mostly the Greek islands.
In 2011, Ryanair inaugurated 23 new flights, six for Kos, ten for Rhodes and seven for the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, while recently the company inaugurated a new airlink from London to Corfu.
Another low cost airline, easyJet, is carrying out in 2011, seven flights to Athens and six to Thessaloniki, while running through 31 October it will also be flying to Corfu, Mykonos, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Hania (Crete).
A total of 8,695,309 tourist arrivals were recorded in the 13 main airports of the country in the first eight months of 2011, posting a 10.1 increase in comparison with the same period in 2010, according to data released by the Greek Tourist Enterpises Association