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Greece Road Arrivals Grind to a Halt Due to Covid-19 Crisis

Attiki Odos road

Despite picking up at the start of July when Greece reopened to tourism after Covid-19 lockdowns, arrivals to the country by road have nearly come to a grinding halt after mandatory testing requirements were put into place at the borders.

According to data, 580,000 travelers came to Greece by road in Q3 2020 accounting for a mere 8 percent of total arrivals recorded in 2019.

Presenting the data last week to ministerial council, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said the “low numbers recorded this year in road arrivals are a result of the epidemiological situation in countries of origin”.

“Despite opening with a focus on road arrivals estimating that they would make a positive contribution to stimulating tourism, the second wave of the pandemic that hit Balkan countries in July, severely restricted incoming road flows. Thus, this year only 15 percent of the total arrivals came by road,” the minister said.

Photo Source: @Thessaloniki Travel

Cities in Northern Greece usually count on road arrivals from neighboring countries.

Greek market insiders were counting on arrivals by road to the country to boost tourism. Traditionally, arrivals by road – mainly from Eastern Europe and Turkey – account for 25 percent of total arrivals to Greece.

A second wave of Covid-19 however which hit Balkan territories took a further toll on incoming arrivals bringing them down to 15 percent of the country’s total.

The largest number of incoming visitors via road recorded this year were from Bulgaria, followed by Romania and Albania. Demonstrating the changing market dynamics this year, Bulgaria and Romania were among the top 10 leading source markets for tourism in Greece so far.

On the contrary, competitor destinations Spain, Italy and France saw the number of arrivals by road increase this year.

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