Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias confirmed this week that the Russia-Ukraine war would inevitably lead to tourist cancelations, adding however that Greece’s tourism industry was resilient.
During an interview to Open TV on Thursday, the minister said he was expecting cancelations but added that the Russian market accounted for a small share of tourist activity in Greece.
The minister said tourism stakeholders would be waiting until the end of spring to see how things turn out, adding that there was currently a no-fly zone in place until May 28.
“I do not make predictions but I want to be honest, we have cancelations from Russia at the moment, not on a massive level, in the sense that until mid-May the bulk of tourists do not travel,” he said.
“Before 2013, we had 1.2 million travelers from Russia coming to Greece. This fell to 50 percent after the war in Crimea in 2013-2014, and has continued to decline so this market does not account for a big part of our tourism,” said Kikilias.
In 2020 during the Covid pandemic, Kikilias said some 50,000-60,000 visitors from Russia came to Greece and 100,000 in 2021.
The minister went on to add that in addition to the war, the sanctions imposed on Russia and the sliding ruble would also negatively affect Russians’ buying power and sentiment for travel, particularly for the summer ahead.
“Unfortunately, we are experiencing a war in the heart of Europe in 2022, with uninhibited violence,” he said.