Tourism professionals have no safe forecasts to rely on regarding Greece’s performance this year. However, they are confident that the numbers will be better than 2020, though they stop short of saying they that they will be “considerably” improved.
Both the government and the industry estimate that by end of June – depending on the progress in vaccination rates among Greeks and other Europeans – travel flows will start becoming easier to predict. On the downside, expectations about the return of British and Russian tourists from this month have been shattered, further pushing away the goal of attaining revenues equal to 50% of 2019, when Greece reached an all-time high of 18.2 billion euros.
Travel receipts last year came to just 23.5% of those record levels in 2019, adding up to around €4.5 billion.
With the first half of the year all but lost for Greek tourism, the most likely scenario, according to tourism associations, is for the second half of the year to bring in revenues equal to half those generated in the July-December period of 2019. That would signify a total of 40% of 2019 takings for the entire 2021, or some €7.2 billion.
There are genuine hopes that the second half of the year will have even more positive results, either through the extension of the tourism season or via very high occupancy rates. For Athens, the passenger traffic forecast for the third and fourth quarter of the year points to an increase of 45% and 50% respectively, equal to a month ago.
Britain’s review of Greece’s status is expected to take place in late June, and with Russian flights still restricted to eight per week, the Russian market remains closed for June for all practical purposes.
Therefore, Greek tourism will rely mostly on arrivals from Germany, France, Italy and other eurozone countries over the coming weeks, sources from the Greek airline and hotel industry tell Kathimerini.
It is also seen as particularly important that despite the travel advice issued by the US State Department, the large US carriers continue to maintain their schedules for increased flights this summer to Greece at seven services per day. Aegean is also expanding its schedule.
This article was first published on ekathimerini.com.