By Nikos Krinis in Berlin
“The indications for Greece are optimistic, bookings are at a very positive rate at the moment,” the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, told the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) on Wednesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the first day of the ITB Berlin trade show, Andreadis said that early bookings to Greece from Germany — depending on the tour operator — are currently showing a 10 to 30 percent increase due to a number of factors such as the decline of tourist traffic to Turkey, the cheap euro to dollar exchange rate and the fact that the refugee situation is in recession and therefore not affecting travel decisions as it was last year.
During ITB, Andreadis officially stated that the confederation expects the 2017 season to see a significant rise in tourism revenue and tourist arrivals.
“SETE’s forecast for 2017 is that international arrivals could amount to some 26 million from 24.8 million in 2016”, he said in a statement, adding that new and traditional markets have boosted airline seat capacity for Greece with the addition of 1.5 million seats — 500,000 to Athens and 1 million to other destinations.
The confederation expects cruise arrivals to decline by some 20 percent to 28 million compared to 2016, due to the geopolitical situation in the wider region of SE Mediterranean.
In regards to revenue, Andreadis said the 2017 season is expected to bring 14.2 to 14.5 billion euros, considering that the average tourist spending recovers to the levels of 2015.
“If these goals are achieved then tourism can contribute even more vigorously in the Greek economy and add an additional unit to the country’s GDP,” he said.
SETE’s president underlined that the positive forecast for Greek tourism in 2017 depends on the immediate closing of the Greek program’s second review.
Moreover, he said that the value-added tax (VAT) must return to competitive levels and any thought of imposing new taxes (such as the stayover tax) must be abolished or else tourism businesses, along with any growth prospects of the sector and the entire Greek economy, will be up against a very “toxic” environment.