Amid fears of new variants of the coronavirus, new restrictions on movement have hit just as people were starting to look ahead to what is usually a busy time of year for travel. It means more pain for airlines, hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations that were already struggling more than a year into the pandemic, and a slower recovery for countries where tourism is a big chunk of the economy.
In Europe the outlook is clouded by lagging vaccine rollouts and the spread of the new variants.
That means “there is a growing risk of another summer tourist season being lost,” said Jack Allen-Reynolds at Capital Economics: “That would put a huge dent in the Greek economy and substantially delay the recoveries in Spain and Portugal.”
Travel company TUI is offering package vacations in the sun in Greece and Spain, but with broad cancellation provisions to attract cautious customers. |
Gerasimos Bakogiannis, owner of the Portes Palace hotel in Potidaia in Greece’s northern Halkidiki region, said he is not even opening for Western Easter on April 4 but will wait a month for Orthodox Easter on May 2 – and, he hopes, the start of a better summer.
“If this year is like last year, tourism will be destroyed,” he said.