Seeking to allay European, and in particular German and French fears over the Russian vaccine, Athens has imposed stricter restrictions on arrivals from Russia. However, growing concern over the Delta variant of the coronavirus that is proliferating in the UK has also sparked discussion about possible restrictions on British tourists coming to Europe threatening to further undermine this market for Greece.
The ongoing debate is also over whether vaccinated Britons should be tested.
Bearing this data in mind, it is becoming increasingly clear that this year’s tourist season is moving far below initial expectations of a recovery to the tune of 50% of the activity of 2019.
As things stand today, 35-40% seems more likely, according to sources in the tourism industry. Last year, Greek tourism moved to 24% of the 2019 figures in both arrivals and receipts.
At the same time, according to estimates based on preliminary data available to the Tourism Ministry, about a million foreign travelers have arrived in Greece so far, a number that is significantly lower than the targets set earlier this year for the first half.
In 2019, 31.34 million travelers had arrived throughout the whole year, while in 2020 arrivals amounted to 7.3 million. Of these, 1.5 million were from Germany and 1 million from the United Kingdom, which this year appears further and further away from Greece.
Discussions to impose restrictions on Britain began last week at the EU summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Macron expressing strong concern about the spread of the Delta variant. Macron has talked about a possible travel ban from countries where the Delta variant is out of control, such as the United Kingdom.