The massive reduction in demand for holiday travel by the main markets Greece draws its visitors from points to a corresponding slump for Greek tourism. The drop in spending on air travel and accommodation by German, French, Italian, British and American holidaymakers this year is expected to come to between 60 and 70 percent. That much smaller expenditure is not seen beginning before September, according to a study by INSETE.
The study by the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation, titled “The Covid-19 Pandemic and Greek Tourism,” projects that revenue losses in 2020 will be extensive given the quarterly distribution of takings (4 percent in the first quarter, 26 percent in Q2, 59 percent in Q3 and 11 percent in Q4) and the fact that the second quarter has already been lost. “It also remains uncertain when the emergency measures in Greece and its markets will end, and at what rate the markets will recover,” it said.
Last year travel takings reached a record 18.179 billion euros. If this year were to perform similarly the second quarter would have fetched 4.7 billion, which is now lost. Out of the remaining 13.48 billion, some 530 million was already collected over the year’s first couple of months. If spending is reduced by 60 percent for the second half of the year, per the conservative estimates cited by INSETE, instead of 12.9 billion euros, tourism will fetch just 5.1 billion, for a total of 5.65 billion euros over the whole of 2020. That is less than a third of the 2019 revenues.
The INSETE study further pointed out that a recovery in revenues is usually slower than that of arrivals, with takings not expected to bounce back until a year after the crisis. INSETE Director General Ilias Kikilias explains to Kathimerini that, “in the decade of the financial crisis, tourism – with a total of 260 million visitors and 143 billion euros of revenues from abroad, emerged as probably the most important pillar of our economy and employment. With Covid-19, tourism also emerged as one of the first sectors damaged, and at great speed and intensity.”
Kikilias also estimates that “the rebound will take quite some time and will be implemented in the context of a new normality. Our challenge is for the experience of the few visitors at first to become a deposit for the future.”