According to provisional data released by the Bank of Greece (BoG), international arrivals (mainly through the country’s airports) saw an overall 46.8 percent drop, while the travel spending of residents abroad decreased significantly by 75.7 percent.
The provisional data of BoG reflect the impact of the coronavirus for the month of March, due to the sudden halt of air transport and hotel operations.
Inbound traveller flows: The numbers say it all
In regards to the drop of inbound visitors in March specifically, visitor flows through airports declined by 57.9 percent, while visitor flows through road border-crossing points declined by 27.5 percent, compared to the same month in 2019.
“This overall decrease was due to lower visitor flows from both within the EU27 (down 32.5 percent) and outside the EU27 (down 59.2 percent),” BoG said.
The number of visitors from Germany decreased by 71.3 percent, while visitors from France fell by 51.2 percent. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of visitors from the United Kingdom fell by 69.4 percent, while visitors from the United States dropped by 59.3 percent and from Russia decreased by 64.5 percent.
In January-March 2020, travel receipts and inbound visitors dropped by 5.6 percent and 17.1 percent respectively, precisely due to the developments in March.
It should be noted that in February, nearly one month before the coronavirus spread to Europe, travel receipts in Greece marked a 21.1 percent year-on-year increase driven in large part by spending from non-EU countries, which rose by 50.6 percent to 158 million euros against the same month in 2019 at 105 million euros.
The BoG also presented positive tourism data for the month of January.
2019 data: Arrivals & revenue on the up
BoG’s final data for the 2019 tourism season in Greece, shows that travel receipts in 2019 reached 18.17 billion euros, up by 13 percent compared with 2018.
The number of inbound visitors in Greece last year rose by 2.8 percent to some 34 million (including cruise passengers), from 33 million a year earlier. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 1.6 percent and visitor flows through road border-crossing points increased by 9 percent.
Greek tourism restart
Greece now is easing its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, aiming to restore free movement for its citizens and visitors from abroad. The Greek 2020 tourism season will officially begin on June 15, which is the same date flights from abroad have been given the green light to land initially at Athens International Airport.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis recently said that in the best case scenario, Greek tourism in 2020 will be able to “save” only eight billion euros from last year’s travel receipts of 18.17 billion euros. The minister is aiming for numbers to pick up in July to give the sector a boost and help “save” August, the country’s most strongest tourism month.
Press here to read about the “Restart Tourism” plan for Greece.