Study: Islands Give Greece Advantage in Tourism Over Rivals
The Greek islands are giving Greece a head start over its main tourism rivals setting solid foundations for the tourist season ahead, said the National Bank of Greece (NBG) in its latest “Business Trends” study.
More specifically, NBG analysts expect Greece to make a strong comeback this year on the back of increasing tourist flows in 2022 and in view of strong pre-bookings and intent for travel.
Greek hotels saw autumn sales exceed pre-Covid 2019 levels by 24 percent driven in large part by overnight stays which recouped 97 percent of 2019 levels, enabling hotels to gain a larger market share with international customers accounting for 60 percent of all stays over 57 percent in 2019.
In the meantime, sales per night were up by 27 percent compared to 2019, reflecting the quality and variety of services offered.
According to NBG analysts, the improved services which in turn boosted profitability have set Greek hotels apart from those in rival destinations and led to an increase in their share of Mediterranean overnight stays by 1 percentage point (18.5 percent in autumn 2022 compared to 17.5 percent in autumn 2019).
At the same time, Greek hotels also saw their revenues per night increase more compared to their competitors while operating profitability in 2022 was stronger by 20-35 percent on average compared to 2019.
Other key takeaways of the NBG report include:
– the Greek islands managed to keep tourists comeing off season marking a 13 percent increase in sales in the autumn compared to 2019
– leading the way as autumn destinations were the South Aegean islands and Crete
– road arrivals took a toll on mainland destination figures which were down by 5 percent in constant prices compared to autumn 2019
– the number of arrivals from Germany, the UK, France, and the US were up by 11 percentage points, with the UK leading the way marking a 43 percent increase in arrivals compared to 2019
– Greece is a highly sought-after destination cited as the first choice for a next trip to Europe by 5.8 percent of Europeans this year (compared to 4.4 percent in 2022)
– early bookings are 70 percent higher so far this year compared to 2022
– scheduled air seats for the first weeks of March are 11 percent higher compared to last year proving that the tourist season has been extended beyond the traditional summer months
– also reflecting a longer tourist season, October 2022 managed to reach 60 percent of September arrivals compared to 54 percent in 2019.
Looking ahead, NBG analysts are expecting a robust year in tourism citing a strong intent for travel despite the cost-of-living crisis. They go on to add that consumer confidence in key source markets for Greece appears to be recovering supporting intent for travel from within the EU and abroad.
On the downside, the report refers to geopolitical tensions, soaring energy prices which may impact hotel operational costs and the shortage of staff.