Greece could be one of the first countries in Europe to welcome tourists back, once the Covid-19 pandemic has been combatted, according to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President & CEO Gloria Guevara.
In its new 2020 Economic Impact Report (EIR) report, the WTTC shows that Greece continued to be one of the strongest European countries in terms of Travel & Tourism growth last year, and that the sector will be key to the country’s economic recovery.
In an announcement, Guevara underlined how fundamental the Travel & Tourism sector was last year to the Greek economy and said the country’s government “must also be applauded” for its incredibly swift response to COVID-19, which saw restrictions in place even before the virus reached the country.
“Since then, the government has worked closely with the public and private sector, ensuring protocols and standards are in place that will not only see the country through to a fast recovery, it could be one of the first countries in Europe to welcome tourists back to its shores,” she said.
WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report (EIR) underlines that the Travel & Tourism sector last year support almost 850,000 jobs in Greece, equating to more than one in five of all those in employment.
“Strong growth in the country followed the Governments successful policy which focused on extending the season beyond summer, which led to a rise in visitor numbers outside of the traditional summer season,” she said.
WTTC’s EIR reveals that, between 2016 and 2018, Germany accounted for 14% of all visitors to Greece, with the UK reaching 11%. Visitors from Bulgaria accounted for 10% of all travellers, with Italy and North Macedonia level pegging at 5%.
The report shows that tourism also generated €39.1BN to GDP, or 20.8% to the Greek economy, growing by an incredible 12.1% from the previous year, outpacing the growth of the overall economy for the third consecutive year.
The comprehensive report shows this growth significantly outpaced the overall GDP growth in 2019 of 2.2% in the same year.
Analysis in the WTTC EIR report also showed international visitor spend totaled a staggering 21.3bn. euros, representing almost one third (30.1%) of the country’s total exports.
The report also demonstrates the nation’s need for a swift recovery due to its strong reliance on leisure spending, accounting for 94% of all spend, compared to 6% for business spend. Furthermore, international spend accounted for 68% compared to 32% domestic.