Greece is considered a particularly Covid-safe destination, according to foreign tourists who got a chance to visit in 2020. This sense of security in relation to the pandemic is the second most important reason for choosing to visit Athens, after its archaeological sites and its culture, according to a survey by the capital’s hoteliers.
The Visitor Satisfaction and Hotel Performance survey by the Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hoteliers Association found that 43% of recreational tourists arriving in Athens last year said they chose it as a safe destination, a rate that climbs to 60% among the 18-25-year olds.
Foreign visitors in Athens said they were quite well informed about the Greek measures against Covid-19, giving it a mark of 7.6 out of 10. Both Greeks and foreign respondents said they felt very safe in their hotels (with a mark of 8.9 and 9.2 respectively). A similar assessment for sites of interest, restaurants and taxis fetched marks above 8 out of 10 in all cases. Only public transport fared worse among foreigners, with 6.9/10.
In total, visitors from abroad last year marked the Greek measures with 7.3/10, saying that they did not affect their experience in Athens to a great extent. The survey further found that the pandemic did not have an impact on spending in the Greek capital, which ranged around the same amount as in 2018 and 2019 on a per-visitor basis, at at 115 euros per person. Consequently the overall satisfaction marks notched in slightly higher at 8.2 out of 10, from 8.1 in 2019.
Of course despite the high satisfaction rate among tourists and the security they felt, tourism demand was exceptionally low. Overall the association considers last year as “catastrophic” for the hotel sector. Taking into account the hotels that did not operate, the capital’s occupancy rate came to just 19.7%. The loss of revenues in the Attica hotel market last year is estimated at €700 million.
Nevertheless, rival destinations such as Rome and Barcelona had even lower occupancy rates and only Istanbul fared better, with a 30% occupancy rate.