Although tourism estimates for May and June remain modest, market experts stress there are indications that the presence of travelers will become apparent in a big way by the end of next month and early July.
Indicatively, bookings are reportedly picking up and are expected to be significantly higher than last year, and if there is no setback in terms of the pandemic, there are ample indications that this year’s tourist season will extend until the fall.
“If there is nothing unpredictable, then we will have a good autumn,” said Yiannis Retsos, president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE).
Speaking to Kathimerini, Retsos spoke of a “hidden enthusiasm that things will go well.”
“Estimates in the industry have always been risky and, at this juncture, are even more so,” he said. “However, I am optimistic that we will achieve the goal of recovering part of the revenue compared to 2019,” he added.
“People are tired and will plan trips,” Retsos explained, adding that large travel flows are expected by the end of June or beginning of July, and that they will “last longer than usual and longer than last year when the second wave of the pandemic froze travel in September.”
“We have reservations from the United Kingdom and Germany, while at the moment we have visitors from France and Israel – although with the recent conflicts there we may have some developments,” he said, while stressing that the positive suggestion of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has increased demand from the US, although the reservations are not guaranteed.
“Russia remains a huge question as, while there is a great desire from Russian travelers, the Russian government is hindering the resumption of travel, which is part of the general Europe-Russia geopolitical game,” Retsos concluded.
Echoing similar expectations, the chief financial officer of German travel group TUI AG, Sebastian Ebel, has confirmed to Kathimerini that bookings go all the way to October and did not rule out the trend persisting into the first half of November.
For his part, Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis noted that Greece is the top-ranking country in France in terms of reservations, while direct flights are already arriving from the US. He assured that Greece will be ready from June 1 with the Digital Green Certificate.