Travel flows to Greece should increase by 50% this summer compared to last year, starting from early July, despite the problematic picture as regards the pandemic at this point, according to projections from air bookings and surveys of potential visitors from the main markets of visitors to Greek destinations.
Provided the current third wave does subside in April, both in Europe and in Greece, and the vaccination programs increase their pace as of mid-April, airlines and tour operators are preparing for the launch of the main tourism season from the beginning of July.
A top official in the travel industry explained to Kathimerini that “the current restrictions announced and applied in the two main markets for Greek tourism – i.e. Germany and Britain – are aimed mainly at containing the spread of the virus there and the prevention of uncontrolled travel amid the third wave, after the boom in bookings, especially for the Easter for Western Christianity (on April 4), generated by announcements such as those by the British prime minister.”
The same official cited sources from Germany and the United Kingdom, saying that despite the stricter lockdown announced and the heavy fines for holidays abroad, restrictions will start being relaxed from late May and be fully lifted in the second half of June.
That is contingent on the efforts to contain the third wave of the pandemic, combined with the growing pace of vaccinations and the improving weather conditions. Significant instruments such as the European Union’s planned Digital Green Certificate and the abundance of rapid Covid-19 tests will allow airlines, airports and hotels to cater to a substantially higher number of tourists this summer, according to the baseline scenario the sector’s companies have shared with Kathimerini.
Quantifying those estimates, Greece can expect the first quarter to close with incoming visitors at Athens Airport amounting to 15% of those two years earlier, rising to 25% in the second quarter and 54% in the third, sources tell Kathimerini. The final quarter should see 75% of the arrivals of the record year of 2019. Regional airports anticipate up to 65% of the 2019 traffic in the third quarter.