Greece soars at Portugal’s expense

Flight stats show the most popular destinations

Departure board indicating Brits most popular destinations - Greece soars at Portugal's expense

The Independent reported recently that in post-pandemic popularity Greece has soared in its summer appeal to British visitors, while France and Portugal have slipped down the league table of European destinations this summer.

As the peak season comes to an end, the newspaper was analysing the latest passenger data from the Civil Aviation Authority – for July 2022 – to get a snapshot of which countries are doing well in attracting British holidaymakers, and which are falling behind, with the latter including Portugal as a whole.

Among traditional Mediterranean destinations, Spain is the clear winner, with 3.55 million passengers flying to and from UK airports. The nation has been the favourite overseas destination for British holidaymakers for decades.

But, surprisingly, the second place now goes to Greece, with 1.33 million arrivals and departures. In the holiday league table, Greece is typically fourth behind Spain, France and Italy. In July, no European nation other than Spain or Greece reached a million airline passengers to and from the UK. Italy saw 979,702 departures and arrival, with Turkey just behind at 930,915.

France is usually the second-most popular destination for UK travellers overall, but in terms of flights, it takes fifth place: 809,476 people flew to or from the nation. However, many more British holidaymakers cross the Channel by sea or rail to France, which distorts the popularity statistics – although some travellers heading over the Chanel will continue through to Spain and Italy.

Portugal’s numbers lower than the Canary Islands

The table of airline passenger numbers is very different from the pre-Covid figures for European holidays taken using any means of transport, with Portugal slipping to sixth place. There were 734,595 arrivals and departures from Portuguese airports (including Madeira and the Azores). The figure is slightly lower than the total for Spain’s Canary Islands.

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7 thoughts on “Greece soars at Portugal’s expense”

  1. Not surprised people are avoiding Madeira these days. Just looked at prices from Jet2 for 2 adults from Glasgow to Funchal – 10th October 2022 returning Glasgow 24th October 2022………..£918. People are not going to pay crazy prices like that. Compare that to Jet2 for 2 adults Glasgow to Fuerteventura, Spain – 12th October 2022 returning Glasgow 26th October 2022 – £590. Okay, it’s not Madeira, but it is a holiday people can afford. Why on earth is there such a huge price difference? People might have to make choices nowadays with all the inflation going on so Madeira might take a huge hit as far as tourism goes.


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