The short-term benefits for Greek tourism from the crisis in Turkey, such as the rise in last-minute bookings and the transfer of conferences, corporate events, cruise visits etc from Turkey to Greece, should not lead to complacency, as instability in the region is a negative factor for the future of Greek tourism, according to industry professionals.
Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) President Andreas Andreadis says that despite the spike in last-minute bookings, there are several worrying signs ahead for next season, such as the fact that some major airlines, in their plans for next year, provide for a reduction in the number of seats available on foreign flights to Greek destinations.
Andreadis says that a series of events, such as the recent terror attacks in Europe, the British decision to leave the European Union and instability in the broader geographical region, will affect tourism traffic in 2017. Furthermore, excessive taxation on Greek tourism products is creating serious competitiveness problems across the entire spectrum of the sector.
The SETE president adds that a significant number of tourists from key markets such as Germany have decided against traveling abroad, shrinking the pie for Mediterranean destinations this summer.
The coup attempt in Turkey, moreover, came at a time when the neighboring country was trying to make a comeback in tourism with the rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow. The failed coup and the state of emergency declared in the neighboring country may dash any hopes for a recovery in the Russian flow of visitors. Greece stands to benefit from cancelations by foreign tourists to Turkey, the expert says, but this also has a negative side.
Greece has seen the number of visitors from Turkey grow in the past few years but the dramatic events in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup resulted in an immediate drop in inflows, with cancelations by Turks who had planned holidays in Greece, mainly in the north, beginning directly after the event.
Hotel association representatives believe that the situation will take time to return to normal, also given increased vigilance by Turkish authorities over all citizens traveling to Greece amid fears that they may have taken part in the coup attempt.