The Greek tourism sector is expected to see travel receipts from abroad add up to only between 3.5 – 4 billion euros for the whole year of 2020, compared to over 18 billion euros in 2019, due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“According to our calculations at the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), tourism revenue this year is expected to amount to 3.5 to 4 billion, with the 3.5 billion number seen as the most realistic scenario,” said Charalambos Voulgaris, SETE member and president of the Corfu Hotels Association, speaking on Friday during an online event focused on tourism development and policies to face the Covid-19 crisis, held by Alpha Marketing.
“This was a year where many regions and countries had no tourism… However, Greece decided to open and although the amount of 3.5 billion in revenue is low, I believe that it is much better than zero, which we would have had otherwise,” he said.
Although it may seem early for professionals to be giving estimates on the year’s total revenue, considering that Greece’s summer holiday season usually runs until late autumn, the majority of hoteliers already consider the tourism year over – with seasonal units shutting down early – due to the lack of September bookings.
Having been placed at a standstill for some four months, Greek tourism opened on July 1 with revenue adding up to only some 800 million euros for that month. The country’s tourism performance then began to pick up in August with revenues reaching around 1.5 billion euros. However, August also saw a rise of Covid-19 cases in certain Greek destinations which led the government to impose restrictive measures. As a result, some countries removed a number of Greek islands from their lists of exempt countries and territories for quarantine, a move which – according to Greek tourism professionals – wiped out any hope for an extension to the 2020 season.
Hoteliers chief: Next season still unclear
When asked about the 2021 season for Greece, Hellenic Hoteliers Federation President Grigoris Tasios referred to an “unclear picture” that will most likely run until around next March.
“At the moment we do not know the state that our distribution channels – airlines, tour operators – will be in… Right now we see no winter tourist season (October – March) for other continents or European cities, including Athens and Thessaloniki, which brings a second wave of problems to year-round hotels and distribution channels… 2021 will be a very difficult year, with a May that may not even exist in terms of visitors since we do not know if people will want to travel,” he said.