The flurry of cancellations at Greek hotels over the last few days, especially after orders were issued for those returning from Greek destinations to Britain and the Netherlands to quarantine, marks the end of the main tourism season for Greek tourism. It’s not quite a tragic end though, as market sources say that August proved to be better than the pessimistic projections earlier this year.
Estimates point to a 55% reduction in incoming tourism traffic last month, compared to August 2019, while in July the annual decline had amounted to 65%. These are also the indications from arrivals data at the country’s regional airports and Athens International Airport.
Sources from the Finance Ministry, the tourism industry and the Bank of Greece agree that travel receipts from abroad came to about 1.5 billion euros last month, matching the takings from the year’s first seven months.
Over the final four months of the year, as the second wave of the pandemic continues, the conferences and events market as well as that of city breaks will be frozen now that the summer has come to an end.
Therefore, according to the baseline scenario for the collection of about €600 million in September-December, it is calculated that this year’s total travel takings from abroad will amount to just over €3.5 billion, that is about 80% less than in 2019, which was a record year.
True, several destinations have done better than the country’s average: Among those that have stood out are Rhodes, Rethymno, Santorini and Kos – at least up until a couple of days ago, as September cancellations have been soaring this week, putting an end to any hopes that this month could spring a nice surprise for local tourism.
On Tuesday, Fraport Greece announced that the decline in arrivals last month at the 14 regional airports it operates amounted to 56.7% year-on-year, while over the first eight months of the year, the decline amounted to 71.2%. The British were the main users of those airports, which saw 315,840 UK arrivals last month, ahead of the 205,959 Germans.