A total of 3.9 million visitors mainly from Europe have traveled to Greece so far this year, equal to 22 percent of arrivals in the same period last year, with tourism-related revenues expected to reach 20 percent of the 2019 total by the end of 2020, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis during a presentation of data this week.
Addressing a ministerial council, Theoharis said large source markets such as the US, Canada, Australia, Russia, Turkey, and Israel remained closed or restricted due to coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In terms of arrivals in the period,Greece reopened to tourists after global lockdowns, Athens International Airport marked an 80 percent decline compared to the same period in the previous year, with July-August arrivals mitigating losses to -60 percent. September saw a 70 percent decrease compared to 2019.
Traffic at regional airports in Greece sunk by 70 percent to 3.3 million arrivals, with the airports of Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Rhodes, Corfu, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Chania and Santorini recording the highest traffic. On the downside, traffic through Lesvos and Samos airports – both islands impacted by the refugee and migrant crisis – dropped significantly, said Theoharis.
Road traffic via border check points – which account for 25 percent of overall incoming arrivals – in the first three quarters of the year, dropped to 500,000, mainly from Bulgaria, Romania and Albania. The second Covid-19 wave further slowed down arrivals via road which accounted overall for 15 percent of the total.
Theoharis referred to revenue, which he said was stronger by 23 percent to 527 million euros in the first two months of the year before the outbreak of Covid-19 and plunged by nearly 95 percent after that.
According to data presented by Theoharis, revenue for July came to 577 million euros down by 84.4 percent. Revenue in August is expected to reach 1.6 billion euros, down by about 60 percent.
Based on this data, Theoharis said he expects Greece to have recovered 20 percent of total 2019 revenue.
“Greek tourism achieved three very important goals this year: First, the tourism market gave Greece a vote of confidence. Secondly, the country’s brand name and good reputation formed during the first wave of the pandemic was not only maintained but strengthened during the tourist season. And thirdly, he implementation of health protocols was exemplary,” said Theoharis.