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Greece’s Tourism Sector Marks Better-than-expected Recovery in 2021

The Greek tourism industry achieved the best-case scenario in terms of performance in 2021 with the number of international arrivals recouping 47 percent and travel receipts 59 percent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels, according to Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor Yannis Stournaras’ annual report on the economy.

According to the governor’s 2021 report released last week, the number of international arrivals at all Greek airports were up by 97 percent year-on-year but still down by 46.3 percent over 2019. Regional airports saw an even higher increase in activity last year compared to Greek airports in total up by 123.7 percent.

At the same time, business expectations in tourism-related sectors (accommodation, F&B) returned to positive some even reaching pre-Covid levels.

Construction of new hotels up in 2021

Indicatively, after years of slowdown, the number of new permits for offices increased by 29.7 percent, for shops by 67.9 percent and for the construction of new hotels by 51.2 percent in 2021 over 2020. At the same time, real estate investment companies invested more than 550 million euros in projects with 36 percent of capital invested in offices, 30 percent in shops, 12 percent in hotels and 10 percent in commercial warehouses.

Additionally, according to the BoG report, investment portfolios, real estate development companies, and business networks invested in the development or reconstruction of high quality hotel units in the center of Athens and at popular tourist islands and destinations. 

Looking ahead, the Greek tourism sector is expected to gain more momentum fast approaching 2019 levels, the BoG report said. However, the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war which have created insecurity and skyrocketing energy costs are still factors to consider.

The governor added that the tourism industry’s success also hinges on resolving the issue of seasonality. By extending the season, distributing tourist activity across all of Greece, and increasing average spending and number of nights spent, the tourism industry can improve its performance considerably, the report said.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. Jubie Guzman Reply

    Just did an 11 day tour in mainland Greece and Crete from 3/29 through 4/8! My husband and I along with friends who were also married went in a tour group of 25. We’re from USA! Greece was fantastic! Kudos to Gate 1 Travel! Oppa!

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