ECONOMY

Tourism faces two big threats

tourism-faces-two-big-threats

Greek tourism could climb to 25 million foreign arrivals and direct takings of 15 billion euros in 2016, which would make it another record year, but only if the migration issue is settled and the government strikes a swift agreement with its creditors, according to the president of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis.

Speaking from Berlin, where the ITB travel trade show is taking place, Andreadis made it clear that not all Greek resorts should start getting their hopes up, saying that certain destinations affected by the influx of migrants and refugees will see a notable drop in arrivals.

He added that tourism in Greece will post a decline from 2015 unless the monitoring of the Greek bailout program is completed by end-April. Any decisions made at the European level regarding the efficient management of migration flows should be implemented, he noted, to ensure a smooth season at tourism destinations, particularly the eastern Aegean islands. If those conditions are not met, Andreadis underlined that Greece’s image could be tarnished internationally.

SETE data are already pointing to a 5 percent decline in the number of scheduled air seats from foreign countries to Greece for this year, compared to 2015. Andreadis estimates arrivals from Germany will come to 2.8 million, from 2.67 million last year.

Despite the anticipated growth, the high taxation of the sector means that many enterprises will not be able to benefit from the rising course of Greece’s tourism: Data released yesterday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) showed a significant deterioration in the turnover of travel agencies, accommodation units and food service enterprises in the last quarter of 2015.

Travel and booking agencies in particular suffered a big drop in Q4, amounting to 16.4 percent from the same period in 2014, that has turned the course of turnover negative by 3.9 percent for the entire year. The accommodation and food service sector suffered an 8 percent drop in Q4, limiting the year’s growth to just 3.5 percent.