Greek hoteliers and tourism stakeholders are holding their breath waiting to see how Russia’s war on Ukraine will evolve and the inevitable repercussions they will have, including higher costs, on tourism, said Grigoris Tasios, president of the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX).
In a recent interview to SKAI television, Tasios said airline tickets in Europe were expected to increase by at least 50 euros in the coming months, affecting Europeans’ decision to travel.
“The war in Europe is creating insecurity for anyone who wants to book a package holiday for the summer, and on the other hand, there is also the loss from the Russian and Ukrainian markets, which according to 2019 data, comes to about 600,000 and 150,000 arrivals, respectively,” he said.
Tasios said travelers and tourism businesses alike were bound to be affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but the challenge now was how the Greek economy would survive given EU directives in the coming period.
“The issue that concerns us all is how businesses will cope financially with the inflationary ‘tsunami’ ahead of us, an issue that is global and does not only concern Greece,” he said referring to the domino effect of changing prices and costs on travel businesses such as hotels and tour agencies which rely heavily on Russian and Ukrainian travelers.
Tasios confirmed that bookings from the Russian market had stopped completely and contracts with advances for the upcoming period had been suspended affecting several Greek interest companies in Northern Greece, on Crete and in the South Aegean region.
“We therefore have two categories of businesses affected by the war in Ukraine, those who are dependent on the two markets and those which are already impacted by rising costs… 60 percent of arrivals correspond to ‘closed contracts’ made with 2019 rates”.
On a positive note, Tasios welcomed the arrival of the first direct flight from the US to Athens, adding that Greece would be making efforts to cover losses through other main source markets. “Russia was seventh in 2019 based on arrivals, so we have another six European and US markets to work with,” he said.
Greece, Tasios said, was also expected to gain ground due to the good reputation it achieved as a result of its effective management of the Covid-19 pandemic and tourism.