More hotels are opening up in Athens to meet the increasing tourist demand on the back of a growing number of direct flights to the Greek capital this year, said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.

Kikilias said more 5-star hotels were opening in the city center combined with more direct flights creating a new dynamic for the Greek capital.

“We’re seeing new 5-star hotels on Kaningos Square, Mitropoleos St, in VoulaGlyfada and Sounio. The neighborhoods around Omonia and Karaiskaki squares, which were very degraded, are being upgraded, with projects creating a new perception of the capital,” said Kikilias.

In an interview to local media, Kikilias added that the tourism ministry was moving ahead with infrastructure and development projects which have already secured NRR funding.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.

Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.

He said increasing traveler demand reflected “a vote of confidence in Athens”, which attracted visitors into the winter season last year thanks to a constantly growing number of airline connections.

Kikilias said the ministry had entered more deals with airlines for direct flights to Athens and to other destinations which are set to start flights earlier. “Already for 2023, 56 flights per week from the US and Canada have been announced and others will follow,” he said.

So far, airlines companies planning to boost their presence in Greece include Iceland’s low-cost airline PLAY, set to launch bi-weekly flights from Athens to Iceland and the US starting in the summer; Latvian airline airBaltic, which will add new destinations to its flight schedule beginning in March; British airline Jet2 said it will launch its largest ever flight program for Greece this year, adding new routes and increasing seat capacity; Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is looking to add new flights to its schedule as are several US airlines as well as Air Canada.