Greek tourism set to grow despite Thomas Cook collapse

Greek tourism set to grow despite Thomas Cook collapse

Tourism, which accounts for about a quarter of Greece’s gross domestic product, will grow in 2020 despite the blow dealt to the sector last year by the collapse of British travel giant Thomas Cook, Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis said on Thursday.

Revenues in 2019 grew an estimated 12-15 percent from about 16 billion euros in 2018 on the back of a 4 to 5 percent rise in arrivals, Theocharis told Reuters in an interview.

The collapse of Thomas Cook in September left thousands of holidaymakers stranded at island resorts and dealt a significant blow to Greek hoteliers and businesses.

The impact was initially estimated at 500 million euros and was seen spilling over to 2020, an immediate worry for the conservative government that took office in July.

But the sector has found new contracts and replaced the lost slots, Theocharis said, adding, “Despite the ups and downs, the surprises and the hurdles, 2019 rewarded us with a positive result.”

“We are in a position to envision a new year with optimism that Thomas Cook has not left its mark,” he said.

“We expect 2020 will be better than 2019.”

Greece’s target for 2020 and the years to come is an annual one-digit rise in arrivals and a two-digit increase in revenue, said Theocharis, who headed revenue collection at the country’s Finance Ministry at the peak of the crisis in 2013-14.


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