British Tourists Expected in Greece Despite UK Developments
Greek tourism is expected to not be affected by the general election to be held in the United Kingdom in June. On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap general election on June 8 to ensure stability during Brexit negotiations.
Following the announcement of Brexit last year and the recent triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which officially launched procedures for Britain’s exit from the EU, the UK’s general election came to add on to the factors that could possibly affect this year’s tourist season in Greece.
According to Greek tourism sector professionals, messages from the UK market so far are encouraging, recording a double-digit increase over last year’s summer bookings to Greece.
According to the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, considering that 80 percent of bookings to Greece have already been made and May’s victory in the election is definite, no reduction to the dynamic course of Greek tourism is expected.
Moreover, on Twitter, Andreadis underlined the strengthening of the pound to euro exchange rate following the announcement of the general election.
On Wednesday the current pound to euro exchange rate was at €1.19924 to the pound. As mentioned in a report by the UK’s Daily Star, the pound hasn’t tracked this high since last November and holidaymakers and investors alike are looking on to see if it will push past the €1.20 mark.
According to international research institute GfK, the Britons are coming to Greece this summer.
According to a recent GfK report, Greece ranks second in the preferences of UK holidaymakers this year, as bookings increased by 12 percent between January and March 2017. Most British tourists are expected in Greece between May and September, however an increase in bookings has been observed for October as well. The Dodecanese Islands, the Ionian islands and Crete remain top destinations for Britons.
On the other hand, a recent Eurobank economic research report on the macroeconomic implications of Brexit for the UK, the world economy and Greece, tourism is one of the main sectors of the Greek economy that is likely to be affected by Brexit.
According to Eurobank, the main channels through which Brexit might affect the tourism sector in Greece include: reduced real household incomes in the UK as a result of e.g. permanent output loses due to Brexit along with higher inflation and exchange rate depreciation, and changes in the various processes and costs of travel (e.g. reintroduction of visas for UK residents)
Last year, the UK ranked second in terms of tourists arrivals and receipts in Greece.