The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which has likely not reached its peak, and the travel regulations imposed by certain countries, such as Finland and the United States, which make quarantine mandatory for their residents returning from trips abroad, have put paid to hopes that peak season could be shifted to September and October.
Greek tourism professionals were hoping to recoup a part of the income they lost in June and July, but this optimistic scenario no longer appears to be on the cards.
According to data published on Thursday by the Bank of Greece, international tourist arrivals declined 93.8% in June, compared to June 2019, and earnings plunged 97.5%, from €2.55 billion in June 2019, to just €64.3 million last June.
For the first six months of the year, income from international tourism was €678 million compared to €5.413 billion in the first half of 2019, a drop of 87.5%. Arrivals were down 76.9%.
Ironically, arrivals and earnings figures from the first two months of the year, before restrictions were imposed in response to the pandemic, showed an improvement from 2019.
The profile of arriving tourists has also changed significantly, with visitors from France earning first place. This was largely expected, as the US and UK markets have been shut tight and the German market was decisively affected by Berlin’s strong advice for its citizens to vacation at home. And, of course, the deep recession affecting almost every country has limited the number of visitors to Greece across the board.
The way the pandemic is evolving, the newest estimates are that Greece will barely earn €3 billion from tourism this year, or more than 83% less than in 2019, when earnings were €18.5 billion.
That €15 billion – and maybe more – missing correspond to 7.5% of Greece’s GDP. If one takes account, without undue exaggeration, of their multiplier effect on the economy, we are talking about an impact closer to 15% of GDP.
A considerable number of hotels among the 5,000 (out of a total of 10,000) that chose to open this season are planning to shut down at the end of August.