ECONOMY

Travel takings seen at €8 bln this year

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The government has received an estimate of 8 billion euros in revenues from incoming tourism in 2021. This is a scenario based on detailed studies by experts that rely on certain parameters which remain quite uncertain.

If that scenario does prove correct, it will signal the recovery of about 40% of 2019’s record revenues, and a 100% rise on the figures recorded in 2020.

There are two crucial parameters that could threaten this scenario, as sources involved in its assessment explain to Kathimerini: The first is the repeated lockdowns, especially during this period when a large portion of bookings for the summer season are made in the main markets for Greek tourism. The stricter measures imposed in Britain, the second largest market for Greek tourism after Germany, could undermine the industry’s prospects in terms of early bookings.

Some 60% of bookings for the entire tourism season are customarily made in the first couple of months of each year, but at this point in 2021 the figures are below what had been expected for this year from the UK. The same applies to a great extent for the German market too, where measures are also being tightened.

The other important parameter, which emerged last week, concerns the reintroduction of visitors having to self-quarantine as the main means of monitoring travelers to Greece (currently applying up to January 21), with random rapid tests based on the procedures of the Passenger Locator Form (PLF). All visitors from Britain now have to undergo a rapid test on arrival.

Although this measure appears necessary for the time being, the prospect of its extension into the coming months could serve as a counterincentive for potential travelers to Greece, tourism market sources say. “As long as the self-quarantine is perceived as the central instrument for managing incoming tourism flows to Greece, the recovery of demand for travel services here will be delayed,” says one Greek tourism entrepreneur.

Even the most optimistic scenarios do not provide for any notable arrival numbers before the end of the year’s first half, which means that the market will once again be pinning its hopes on the third quarter of 2021.