TOURISM

Tourism fears tough quarter

tourism-fears-tough-quarter

Greek hotels, travel agents and airlines are bracing for a particularly painful quarter ahead, as the arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the growing restrictions it will bring have already obstructed the course to recovery that Greek tourism had set itself on.

The signs are clear: booking cancellations at Athens hotels by travelers from abroad, the freeze on bookings for trips in 2022 and cancellations of or changes to air tickets already issued.

In the last week airports have seen a decline in the number of flights and arrivals, air industry insiders say, with airplanes mostly bringing home students who study abroad and expats to spend Christmas in Greece. Only a few foreign visitors have been coming to Athens or Thessaloniki. A series of conferences and events scheduled for early 2022 have been canceled, while major tour operators already selling summer holiday packages are reporting a huge slump in bookings.

Meanwhile domestic winter resorts have shown next to no impact from the Omicron concerns. Greek visitors are expected to arrive at the accommodation they have booked for Christmas as of tomorrow, but hoteliers appear more concerned about the following weekends of New Year’s and Epiphany. Hardly anyone expects any visitors to arrive after January 10.