Make Roads Safe Hellas announced in 2019 its first Country Report on International Tourism and Road Safety in Greece.

The study was jointly initiated by four Greek universities, namely the National University of Athens, the University of Macedonia, the University of the Aegean and the Hellenic Open University. The project was supported by the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) and Make Roads Safe Hellas.

The aim of the study was to:

(a) investigate the impact of incoming international tourism on road safety,

(b) to capture and analyze the perceptions of international tourists on road safety in Greece and to assess the extent to which these perceptions affect the ultimate value of their overall travel experience and

(c) to identify needs and possible areas of improvement at national and regional level as well as to provide a set of policy and industry‐wide recommendations with the aim of enhancing the image of the country as a safe tourist destination.


Research on International Tourism and Road Safety has proved that:

  • Road accidents are the second most common cause of death and of deaths and injury of tourists and business travelers worldwide.
  • Road traffic risks threaten travelers’ health much more than epidemics or personal security risks.
  • International travelers face greater risk of being involved in a road accident in destination countries than permanent residents.
  • The involvement of Power Two Wheelers (PTWs) in fatal road accidents is very high.
  • Informing tourists about road safety issues at their destination is often inadequate, informal and invalid.
  • Data collection and analysis about road accidents, fatalities and injuries involving international tourists is usually poorly organised.
  • Support of international tourists and their relatives after a road accident is often problematic.

Greece in the spotlight

Greece has enjoyed a reputation as one of the prime tourists’ destinations in the world.

  • It is among the top-10 global powers in international tourist arrivals.
  • Almost 30 million tourists visited the country in 2018 (3 times its population).
  • The tourism sector contributes almost 20% (directly and indirectly) to the GDP.
  • The competitiveness of the tourism sector on the global market is increasing.

Greece is among the worst performing countries in road safety in EU28.

  • Although road fatalities rates have significantly improved (-48% since 2007), they are still worse than the EU average and than in other countries competing in tourism.
  • Greece presents the highest road fatality rate for motorcyclists in the EU28, with 24.8 deaths per million inhabitants in 2015. The corresponding EU average is 9.2. It has also the highest fatality rate of motorcycles’ passengers.

The relationship of International Tourism with Road Safety

Research carried out by the Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering (School of Civil Engineering-NTUA), in the framework of this Country Report, proves that:

  • Road accidents and casualties in Greece increase during the touristic season.
  • In touristic areas, the highest proportion of road accident casualties are motorcycle riders (PTW).
  • In touristic areas, the highest proportion of road fatalities and injuries concerns young persons.
  • There is no evidence of gender effect on road accidents of international tourists.
  • International tourists have a 25% higher risk of causing a road accident than Greek residents or foreign immigrants.
  • International tourists have a higher risk of causing a road accident in non-touristic areas.

Tourists' perceptions about road safety in Greece

In the framework of the Country Report, a national survey was conducted using questionnaires, with the aim to capture the perceptions of international tourists about road safety in Greece and also to assess the extent to which these perceptions affect the ultimate value of their travel experience.

The sample included 1,349 interviews of international tourists in popular touristic destinations in Greece with special focus on airports representing main gateways of incoming touristic flows (i.e., Athens International Airport “El. Venizelos”, Thessaloniki International Airport “Makedonia”, Chania International Airport “I. Daskalogiannis), as well as other historical sites and monuments attracting a large number of international tourists (e.g., Acropolis Museum). The research examined their perception in the following 5 dimensions:

  • Personal responsibility and responsible driving culture.
  • Road infrastructure safety.
  • Driving behavior of others.
  • Experience of critical safety incidents.
  • Overall impact of road safety on general travel experience.

Main conclusions of the survey:

  • Less than half (46%) of the tourists surveyed stated that they sought or received any kind of information on road safety in Greece before their arrival. In these cases, the information came from unofficial sources and not from a reliable source or institutional body.
  • A significant number of respondents (17%), mainly drivers, stated that they were involved in a critical safety incident during their vacations in Greece.
  • Respondents were concerned about common notices behaviors of other drivers, especially dangerous overtaking, not staying in traffic lanes lanes and non-respecting of traffic signs and priority rules. Red light violation and driving under the influence of alcohol were less noticed behaviors of other drivers but were recorded in 25% of the cases.
  • 41% of tourists stated they felt less restricted not to respect the Traffic Code during their trip to Greece.
  • 25% of young people aged under 25 stated that they drove under the influence of alcohol during their holidays in Greece.
  • 42% of respondents considered the presence of the traffic police as insufficient. The proportion is significantly higher (54%) in the age group of young people (under 25).
  • 43% of drivers felt that the road infrastructure was not sufficiently safe. 56% of tourists felt that the infrastructure for pedestrians was not safe.
  • Serious difficulties have been observed by the majority of interviewed tourists (64%) in relation to the friendliness of infrastructure and the use of public transport by persons with reduced mobility (e.g., disabled, elderly, families with small children).

Regarding the impact of road safety on their overall travel experience:

  • The majority (60%) of respondents found themselves disappointed by the road safety condition in the country. This fact would negatively affect the image of Greece as a safe tourist destination.
  • Similarly, 84% of the interviewed tourists were in general dissatisfied with the way that road safety for people with mobility limitations is managed in the country.

Read the summary report here.

Read the full report here.