Greece’s passenger shipping sector has been severely affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its repercussions on travel & tourism, with lost revenue expected to exceed 300 million euros in 2020.
Research conducted by the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) shows that the significant drop of tourism arrivals during the third quarter of 2020 due to travel restrictions and lockdown measures, significantly affected the flow of passengers and the overall transport load of Greek passenger shipping companies.
In its latest study, titled “Passenger shipping in Greece 2016 – 2020, performance contribution to the economy, prospects”, the think-tank estimates that the transport load of domestic lines dropped by 55 percent to 8.5 million passengers in 2020 compared to 19 million in 2019, with the number of cars down by 40 percent and trucks by 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the number of passengers on Adriatic lines, decreased by 69 percent to 470,000 instead of 1.5 million the previous year, with the number of cars down by 58 percent and trucks by 8 percent.
The decreasing number of passengers and vehicles also affected the annual turnover, which is expected to drop by 45 percent on domestic lines and 30 percent on Adriatic lines.
As a result, the sector is expected to post over 300 million euros in lost revenue for 2020, and total loss of 120 million euros.
The prospects for 2020
IOBE presented the survey during a press conference on Monday, that took place online in the presence of Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships (SEEN), President Michael Sakellis, IOBE Head of Microeconomic Analysis & Policy Unit Svetoslav Danchev and IOBE Director General Nikos Vettas.
During the event, SEEN President Michael Sakellis referred to the significant role of passenger shipping for the development of tourism, especially on the Greek islands.
As he said, 65 percent of transport services concern tourism – domestic and international travel.
Looking ahead, Sakellis expects the year 2021 to be difficult.
“The big question is what will happen during the summer season. We expect improvement based on the scenario that tourism will grow by 20 or 30 percentage points compared to 2020, to reach 50-60 percent of the volumes achieved before the crisis,” he said.
On his part, Nikos Vettas said that Covid-19 had been a major setback for Greek passenger shipping in 2020, as Greece’s economy highly depends on tourism. However, the sector managed to successfully respond to the challenge and support the economy and connectivity of the Greek islands.
Vettas also highlighted the importance of developing a short-term support plan for the sector, as well as a long-term growth strategy that will focus on the modernization of the sector’s services and infrastructure.