Upbeat signs from Germany for Greek tourism
The German market has been showing a significant rise in demand for holidays to destinations such as Greece in recent days. This increase interest started emerging after the lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions by the German government, with Greece included among the destinations considered as safe, according to a senior official in Europe’s biggest tour operator.
Evangelos Georgiou, the corporate communication manager for Southern Europe at German tour operator TUI, tells Kathimerini that Greece will have to rival Spain, which is enjoying a similar increase in interest by Germans, especially for holidays at the Balearic and Canary islands; this is expected to expand to continental Spain soon, once the pandemic subsides further.
A similar picture is presented by TUI’s German rival DER Touristik. Bookings for the summer of 2020 have shown a considerable expansion over the last few days, according to the tour operator’s chief executive officer for Central Europe, Ingo Burmester.
He explains that at this point the emphasis is on destinations with road access, such as within Germany and Austria. “However, destinations abroad such as Greece, Turkey, the Balearic islands as well as Tunisia and the Indian Ocean, are experiencing a rise in demand again,” he adds.
In any case, demand is starting from zero this summer and will in no way approach last year’s figures. For the larger tour operators, the key factors that will determine the success of the season are the resumption of flights and the safe and satisfactory return home of the first holidaymakers.
“Only then will demand start gathering some substantial momentum,” an industry source in Germany tells Kathimerini.
The first flights of TUI’s private jets will arrive in Greece between June 29 and July 2, starting from Crete. Aegean Airlines flights have already resumed and demand is considered mild to satisfactory. Flights of all airlines will gradually increase over the course of the summer, though they will come nowhere near last year’s levels.
Germany is crucial for Greek tourism, not only because it sent 4 million tourists last year, but also because other major markets for the Greek destination are closed or almost closed.