The Mediterranean region is by far one of the most beloved leisure destinations in Europe. Its diverse landscapes, warm summer temperatures, sandy beaches, and famous historic landmarks attract millions of visitors annually.
As of summer 2023, capacity in all Mediterranean countries, excluding Slovenia, has recovered to pre-pandemic levels. This is due to a number of factors, including the reopening of borders post-pandemic, people’s increased willingness to travel, as well as the addressing of resourcing and aircraft availability faced by airlines and airports in 2022.
International summer capacity
The Mediterranean region comprises about 22 countries, including Spain, Italy, Greece, and Croatia in Europe. All regions have seen varying post-pandemic activity. While Turkey continues its upward trajectory, Spain, France, and Italy remain the largest markets regarding international capacity.
Spain had about 144.4 million seats in summer 2023, a 45.6% increase compared to the same period in 2013. France was the second highest with approximately 109.4 million seats, a 32.1% improvement from summer 2013. Italy was third with nearly 105.3 million seats. However, Albania had the strongest growth with 5.82 million seats, a 277% increase from summer 2013. Greece had the second-highest growth with 147%, followed by Turkey with 114%, and Croatia, increasing by 104%.
To dive deeper into detail, OAG examined the holiday destinations in the Mediterranean with over one million international seats. It found that the top 15 fastest-growing Mediterranean destinations increased their international capacity by over 100% and are all located in the southeastern region. Furthermore, seven of these destinations are in Greece.
In the Hellenic Republic, Santorini (JTR) saw a 366% increase in capacity, while Mykonos (JMK) grew by 250% in the last decade. Earlier this year, the European Travel Commission confirmed that American holidaymakers would most likely travel to Greece in 2023, ahead of Italy and Spain. Greece’s natural beauty and vibrant atmosphere continue to attract more international travelers.
In the Balkans, Albania and Croatia are increasing in popularity as alternative promising warm destinations. International seat capacity to the Albanian capital of Tirana (TIA) grew by 273% in summer 2013, compared to the same period ten years ago. Meanwhile, Zarda (ZAD) in Croatia has grown by 171%. About 93% of its capacity is served by low-cost carriers. The other Croatian city of Split (SPU) increased by 155%.
Slowest-growing Mediterranean destinations
While the top 15% destinations all grew by over 100%, the bottom 15 grew by 62% or less. Among the bottom 15, Spain’s Gran Canaria (LPA) had the highest growth rate with 62%, followed by Portugal’s Faro (FAO) with 60%, and France’s Marseille (MRS) with 59%. Conversely, Girona (GRO) decreased by 45% over the ten years. These all represent the more traditional and mature destinations within the Mediterranean region.
According to OAG, the South East destinations with the highest growth are increasing in popularity because of their mix of white sandy beaches, ancient landmarks, and incredible cuisine. The southeastern beaches are said to rival the iconic coastlines in the Caribbean. Recent trends suggest that visitors in the Mediterranean are increasingly favoring a memorable, authentic escape over a mainstream holiday at an affordable price.
Source : Simple Flying