New research by National Bank of Greece’s Economic Analysis Department shows revenue from tourism has recovered significantly this year after a dismal 2020.
The research focuses on international arrivals by air, which are highly predictive of revenue.
“If we suppose the health data follow a pattern similar to that of last year, [tourism revenue] in 2021 will recover to 50% of the 2019 level,” the report concludes.
As far as international arrivals by air go, the level in June 2021 was at about a third of the 2019 figure, while 2020 figures had shown a decline of 97% compared to the previous year.
July arrivals stand at about 67% of the 2019 level, up from 29% in July 2020.
There are also trends in the global tourism industry which, even given the uncertainty and volatility of the sector at this point, show that Greece can increase its market share. Reservations, as well as the less reliable inquiries, indicate that Greece should see the highest recovery among all Mediterranean destinations compared to 2020. Also, focusing on the traditional point-of-origin countries, European markets such as Germany are the source of a great increase in demand for holidays in Greece, taking over from the US and Israel, where demand helped the Greek tourism sector in May and June.
Beyond this year’s trends, National Bank’s research looks at what can be done in the medium term. The authors believe the state and sector professionals have not sufficiently leveraged the country’s “natural beauty, warm hospitality and cultural heritage.” “The country is in a very advantageous position to profit from the coming changes” in the global tourism industry, their report remarks.
The report also says that capital could be made available through the European Union’s recovery fund, which, however, sets very specific goals for the country’s reform. The amount the government has earmarked for tourism is not very high (€600 million out of the more than €30 billion provided), but there is also available capital for green action, digital growth, outreach and company growth, either organic or through partnerships.