Seasonality still remains a major challenge for Greek tourism, according to a study on the developments in the Greek hotel sector in 2019, conducted by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) on behalf of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels.
According to data presented on Monday, Greek tourism’s seasonality did not decline in 2019 but remained at a consistently high level, as reflected in the overnight stays recorded at the country’s hotels.
In fact, overnight stays during the four-month June-September 2019 period represented 71 percent of the year’s total, compared to 68 percent in the corresponding period of 2018.
Moreover, further data showed that the average hotel occupancy in the last two years in May appeared to be 57 percent – 58 percent and in August 86 percent – 87 percent, once again reflecting the country’s strong seasonality, which, as ITEP noted, “remains a major problem for Greek tourism”.
Greece surpasses Spain in seasonality
ITEP also compared Greece’s overnight stays during the January-October 2019 period with those of Spain and concluded that Greece’s seasonality is on the up.
“Overnight stays in Greece in the summer months were about 40 percent… this figure dropped dramatically during the shoulder months, reaching single digit figures in the beginning of the year, while Spain’s arrivals appeared ten times higher… We have two countries with different distributions and both with seasonality, but it is much more intense in Greece,” ITEP’s general director, George Petrakos, said.
Greece’s arrivals, revenues peak at five regions
The study also showed that in 2019 the country’s arrivals, overnight stays and tourism revenue was distributed mainly to five Greek regions, a fact that underlines the need for the country’s lesser known destinations to be further developed.
According to the data, the South Aegean Region, which includes popular destinations such as Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes; Crete; Central Macedonia; Attica; and the Ionian Islands accounted for 77 percent of Greece’s arrivals, 84 percent of the country’s overnight stays and 88 percent of tourism revenue (travel receipts).
Greek hotels spent almost €3 billion on upgrades in 2017-2019
ITEP also gave data on investments made by Greek hotels for renovations. During the 2017 – 2019 period, Greek hotels spent almost 3 billion euros on renovations alone, recording investments of some 1 billion euros per year in the sector.
More specifically, Greek hotels – from 1-star to five-stars – spent some 2.9 billion euros euros on renovating their units during the three-year 2017-2019 period (some 861,377 euros in 2017, over 1 million euros in 2018 and some 985,457 euros).
In addition, the study showed that employment in Greek hotels increased by 4.2 percent in May 2019 and by 1.3 percent in August 2019, compared to the corresponding months of 2018. As pointed out during the presentation, growth was expected, given the increase in hotel units in the country. ITEP estimates that one new job in the sector is created for every 2,5 rooms.
In conclusion, the ITEP study noted that the Greek hotel industry continues to be “an investment growth arm and a major employer” for the Greek economy, despite problems such as high seasonality and the concentration of tourism in only certain regions of the country.
This was echoed by Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos, who said: “The survey highlights the huge contribution of the country’s hotels to investment and employment, which suggests the catalytic role that hotels play in the Greek economy”.