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Study: Limited Impact of Russia-Ukraine War on Greek Tourism

Greek tourism enterprises are not likely to be affected by the Russia-Ukraine war, with new markets already replacing tourists from the two countries, found a report released this week by the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce in collaboration with Palmos Analysis.

The study published in Greek daily Naftemporiki and titled “War in Ukraine: Impact on Greek Businesses” was conducted on 331 tourism business owners and executives (hoteliers, travel agents, F&B services, car and boat rentals, camp sites) in May in Crete, Northern Greece, Ionian Islands, and South Aegean Region.

According to the findings, Russian and Ukrainian tourists account for a small percentage of visitors to Greece, and the interruption of tourist flows from the two markets will have a limited effect on the viability of Greek tourism businesses.

Photo source: South Aegean Tourism Initiative

More than half (56 percent) of Greek tourism business owners expect to make up for possible losses by targeting other foreign markets as well as the domestic market. Executives polled also expect tourist flows from Russia and Ukraine to return immediately once the war ends.

Indicatively, 41 percent of Greek tourism business owners surveyed said they did not expect the war to affect business.

In the meantime, 34 percent of study participants said they expect prices to increase by 26-50 percent as businesses struggle to deal with increasing operating costs resulting from inflationary pressures and soaring energy prices.

More than half, 51 percent, said they had already or would be increasing the prices of services offered. Meanwhile, 58 percent of Greek tourism business owners feel state support measures to deal with the energy crisis were necessary.

According to a second part of the study carried out in June, the average Russian tourist chooses holiday destinations abroad based on safety, value for money, and “sun & sea”. The majority, mainly upper class travelers, plan their holidays abroad through travel agencies or tour operators. Greece is a top destination of choice for Russian holidaymakers.

Commenting on the findings, Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce President said Ioannis Masoutis said they indicate “that both Greek enterprises and import-export companies active in the two warring countries, Russia and Ukraine, can adjust to the new environment with changes to their commercial policy. At the same time, the country’s tourism businesses, which depend on Russian and Ukrainian visitors, must be given time to limit the economic consequences”.

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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.

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