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GBR: Domestic Tourism First Step of Covid-19 Recovery – Data on Greece

Greece is expected to make efforts to stimulate domestic travel as one of the ways to boost the tourism sector this season, after the Covid-19 pandemic brought all air transport and incoming travel to a standstill.

However, taking into account figures on domestic tourism in Greece in 2018, extra efforts must be made to attract demand.

More specifically, according to a recent report by GBR Consulting, domestic tourism accounts for a very small percentage of Greece’s market share of overnight stays at major tourism destinations.

“In many countries the first step of recovery will take place with domestic tourism starting with business travel,” GBR said.

As noted in the report, the Greek domestic leisure market “was hit hard” during the Greek financial crisis.

Based on 2018 data, Crete held a share of 3 percent, the South Aegean Region (Dodecanese & Cyclades islands) a 5 percent share, the Ionian islands (6 percent) and Halkidiki (9 percent).

“In 2018 domestic overnight stays at hotels had an overall market share of 15 percent,” GBR said.

However, last month, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said the government would also focus recovery efforts on domestic tourism in an attempt to salvage the sector this season.

Moreover, despite accounting for a small percentage of Greece’s tourism activity, “domestic tourists can help support businesses during the difficult months of 2020,” Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos also said, adding that alternatives are being examined in an attempt to get Greeks to vacation at home this year.

Domestic incentive travel coupons an option

Photo Source: GTP

One idea brought to the table in order to boost domestic travel demand is the launch of a holiday discount program aimed at the Greeks.

Proposed to be implemented from 1 July to 31 December 2020, the program would offer a discount to the cost of a 5-day holiday at an accommodation facility and destination of choice. Eligible parties will receive a special vacation coupon to be used at any time in the given July-December 2020 period.

When asked whether they would be motivated to travel if offered a discount coupon, more than half of Greeks (66.45 percent) said they thought the idea of travel vouchers was positive and would influence their intention to take a holiday in Greece this summer.

Road tourism

In its report, GBR also included figures on road tourism in Greece in 2018, showing that international arrivals from neighboring countries accounted for 30 percent of all international arrivals in 2019 – or a total of 9.3 million.

“Most of these tourists travel to Greece by car,” GBR said, adding that “even though this group is often stated as important in the recovery of Greek tourism, the potential will be mostly limited to Northern Greece and the region of Halkidiki in particular”.

Northern Greece tourism stakeholders said recently that they were placing their hopes on incoming road travel to boost the sector. In this direction, they are recommending that health safety documentation be required for incoming visitors by road ensuring safe travel in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. Peter Reply

    Greece should think about the fact that the number of tourists setting off by car will increase this year as the capacity and reliability of flights will be more limited and a lot of tourist agencies are on the rim of going bankrupt (at least here in Hungary) or have already went bankrupt so they most likely want to stay on the safe side this year. In the hungarian community more and more people decide to choose car as a means of transport to go to Greece if they even planning to go on holidays this year, because it seems safer than being in waiting lines on an airport and being stuffed on a plane next to strangers, not mentioning the bus as the third alternative which is even worse, being locked up with 40 people for 25 hours. So I think you should re-evaluate the 2019 numbers because the 2020 numbers will be slightly different as public transport generates fear of contraction of the virus.

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