Covid-19 impacted Greeks’ travel plans last year, taking a toll on spending which dropped by 27.4 percent to 1.82 billion euros in 2020 against 2019, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said recently.
ELSTAT cited fewer trips taken in 2020 – down by 36.5 percent – due to coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions as well as shortened holidays for the decline. Indicatively, the duration of holidays in 2020 dropped by 35.5 percent in terms of overnight stays. Before the pandemic, overnights ranged on average from four to seven days per trip.
Overall, the study found that Greeks preferred to travel by car last year and chose to stay in private homes or at friends and relatives and that they traveled for personal reasons (96.6 percent).
A closer look at ELSTAT’s findings reveals that a total of 3.8 million people went on 5.8 million trips in 2020 down by 17.7 percent and 21.9 percent respectively against pre-pandemic 2019 bringing total overnight stays to 66.6 million and the relevant expenditure to 1.82 million euros, recording a decrease of 11.3 percent and 27.4 percent, respectively, compared with 2019 (Table 1).
Of the total, 3.5 million trips were made by land and 0.8 million by sea with trips by air hit hardest in 2020 over 2019 marking a 55.9 percent decline (Table 7).
More than half (65.9 percent) of Greek travelers stayed at their own or holiday homes of at friends and relatives, which accounted for 82.4 percent of all overnight stays at any destination.
Accommodation at private vacation homes increased by 26.9 percent last year compared to pre-Covid 2019 and overnight stays by 18.3 percent. At the same time, trips in the “15 days or more” category increased in 2020. These most likely concern individuals staying at their own vacation homes during lockdown days.
Inevitably, overnight stays at hotels or other rented accommodation dropped by 29.4 percent in 2020 against 2019.
Indicative of the Covid-19 impact on travel, Greece reported a 74 percent drop in the number of overnight stays between April 2020 and March 2021 – among the highest declines in the EU, according to Eurostat.