BUSINESS

Lost tourism cash at 10% of GDP

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Tourism, Economy

The Greek economy will miss out on revenues amounting to 10% of gross domestic product this year due to the drop in tourism takings from foreigner visitors.

That figure stems from the forecast by the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and the government for the decline of tourism revenues by 80% this year to 3.5 billion euros from €18.2 billion in 2019, and from the fact that tourism activity last year directly accounted for 12.5% of GDP, according to the latest study by the SETE Institute (INSETE) published on Tuesday.

The study, titled “The Contribution of Tourism to the Greek Economy in 2019,” concluded that “tourism directly contributed €23.4 billion to the country’s economy (up €2.3 billion or 10.9% from 2018), while in total (directly and indirectly) it contributed between €51.6 billion and €62.1 billion.” While tourism activity directly corresponded to one-eighth of the economy, indirectly it accounted for between 27.5% and 33.1%, INSETE noted.

The pandemic brought about a dramatic slump in tourism activity the world over. The World Tourism Organization estimates that this year’s revenue reduction will exceed 60% compared to 2019 and may approach 80%. It was against this backdrop that Greek tourism also posted serious losses.

The Bank of Greece announced on Tuesday that incoming travelers were down 80.1% over the first seven months of this year, amounting to 3.006 million people against 15.08 million in the January-July period last year. At the same time travel revenues shrank by 86.2%, coming to just €1.255 billion. Provisional data for August showed revenues came close to €1.5 billion, which is a little higher than over the first seven months of 2020, according to data processed by the Finance Ministry, tourism associations and the BoG.

Over the year’s final four months, as the pandemic’s second wave hits, the conferences, events and city break markets that typically support tourism after the summer are set to suffer further. Therefore, tourism takings from abroad are not expected to top €600-700 million in September-December.

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