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Air Travel Normality Essential for Greek Tourism’s Recovery


The future of Greek tourism in the aftermath of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic depends a great deal on the recovery of air travel, as well on a number of other factors, Alpha Bank analysts said on Monday.

Providing an analysis of January-August 2020 tourism data, Alpha Bank’s weekly bulletin showed that during the first eight months of the year, Greek tourism suffered a drop in tourism revenues by 80 percent or 10.5 billion euros.

“Estimates for next year’s course of tourism vary and involve a high degree of uncertainty, as the evolution of the pandemic is, so far, unpredictable,” Alpha Bank said in its report.

Recovery depends on 5 factors

However, analysts pointed out that provided the pandemic’s resurgence weakens within the first half of 2021 and economic conditions improve in main trading partners, “Greece has the opportunity to secure a sufficient number of foreign visitors and thus recover much of this year’s damage” with the country’s dependence on air travel playing a very significant role.

“Countries accessible by road or other means, such as Croatia, suffered lower losses compared to countries such as Cyprus, Malta, or Greece where the largest volume of travel traffic requires air connection,” Alpha Bank said.

Photo source: Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA)

The bank’s analysts said that the speed of tourism recovery on the domestic front also depends on another four factors:

– The pattern of economic recovery in the countries of origin of tourists.
– The strength of domestic tourism, which has a better chance of a faster recovery. (The recovery of domestic tourism depends on the level of income and the rate of economic growth – or recession – in the destination country itself.)
– The contribution of business travel to the overall travel movement, which differs significantly in relation to leisure travel (in terms of its replacement by means of digital media).
– The level of health services offered by each destination, in order to provide safety to travelers.

Photo source: Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA)

Photo source: Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA)

Last month, Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos said that in the best-case scenario that a vaccine for Covid-19 is available by early 2021, people may start traveling again from the second semester of next year with the capacity of airlines reaching 60 percent.

In this case, according to Retsos, Greece could regain 50 percent of the revenues of 2019.

International tourism recovery

In Alpha Bank’s bulletin, analysts also referred to global tourism and underlined that it is one of the economic sectors that has been “hit the hardest” by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Internationally, the speed of tourism recovery depends to a large extent on the course of the pandemic, developments in the treatment of the disease and the timing of the release of an effective vaccine,” the report said.

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