Tourism giving much needed respite

As subsidies are extended amid soaring energy prices, traveler arrivals offer fiscal breather

Tourism giving much needed respite

With gas and electricity prices spiraling ominously, forcing the government to extend subsidies to households and businesses, the Finance Ministry predicts that a stronger-than-expected revival of the tourism industry may offer a temporary reprieve.

More specifically, according to the Tourism Ministry and market players, tourism receipts will exceed the 18.2 billion euros achieved in 2019 and reach about €20 billion – which amounts to a 10% increase. These figures are based on data on bookings, flights and overnight stays.

If these estimates are indeed confirmed, then the public coffers will receive 2.5 billion euros more revenue than budgeted, creating a much needed corresponding fiscal space.

In particular, the budget for 2022 foresees travel receipts at around 80% of those of 2019 – i.e. around €15 billion. Around 50% of this amount is considered fiscal space as a result of the tax revenues generated. If travel receipts end up being 10% higher than in 2019 – i.e. close to €20 billion – this means additional receipts of around €5 billion, of which 50% or €2.5 billion constitute additional fiscal space.

Individual traveler markets such as France and Germany, and secondarily the UK, are already between 6% and 40% higher than in the first half of 2019.

“The data regarding traveler arrivals show that this season we are either at the same level or increased compared to 2019, which was a year with the Chinese market open and travelers from Russia and Ukraine, without inflation and the energy crisis,” said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias in comments to Kathimerini.

“However, the most impressive figures are those relating to the spring months, as they confirm the strategy we have set out to extend the tourist season, while we hope that the increases in arrivals in autumn and early winter will be correspondingly large, as already major tour operators are asking us for packages for November and December,” the minister added.

What’s more, the president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, Yannis Retsos, revealed a few days ago that in 2022 tourism “can touch and, why not, exceed 2019 in terms of revenue.”

Echoing the same sentiments, the former president of the association and CEO of the Sani/Ikos group, Andreas Andreadis, referred openly to revenues of €20 billion.

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