The Greek economy’s earnings from travel receipts from abroad this year are down 14 billion euros on last year’s – slightly better than the estimates of the government and the market.
Bank of Greece figures show that tourism revenues amounted to €4.035 billion in the first 10 months of the year, against €17.56 in January-October 2019 and €18.2 billion for the whole of last year, which was an all-time high. The most optimistic market forecasts had seen takings of €3.5 billion for 2020 in its entirety.
Given that Greece, as well as most countries that foreign visitors come from, has been in lockdown since early November, it becomes clear that the results for the full 12 months of 2020 won’t differ much from the performance of the first 10 months.
In any case this is a huge blow, though not unforeseeable. Comparison with last year’s January-October travel service receipts shows a 77% decline, while arrivals dropped 76.1%. These rates will grow when the November and December figures come in, as last year those two months were among the best in years.
After the disappointing data for this year, the industry has turned its attention to 2021. Nevertheless the uncertainty about the pandemic and when we can expect to see a rebound in consumer confidence remains.
Most tourism professionals expect that the first quarter of 2021 will also be effectively lost, while the most optimistic foresee a strong rebound as of July, when the population immunization process will have advanced to a significant degree: According to this scenario, that also requires that the suppressed demand for traveling sees something of an explosion in the latter half of 2021, so that this country could earn between 50% and 60% of its 2019 revenues, compared to just 20%-22% this year.
The crumbling of tourism in October 2020 – on an annual basis – meant that the current account balance showed a deficit of €767 million, up €90 million from October 2019.