On May 15, Greece will open its gates to foreign tourists, after the official announcement by the Prime Minister of the resumption of activities in the sector that constitutes 20% of the country’s GDP.
But is this announcement alone enough to jumpstart the industry? On what does the satisfactory occupancy of accommodations depend? What messages is the market listening to and where do they see the “normalization” of operations of the industry in terms of time?
More than one gear
The statement of the Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis, in the previous days in Parliament that “we do not open by flipping a switch”, is an indication for the schedule of the next period.
In this context, it was preceded by the opening for EU member states and for five more countries (USA, UK, Serbia, UAE and Israel) in nine airports (Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu).
Those from the above countries are not quarantined if they have been diagnosed negative for Covid-19 with a molecular test within the last 72 hours or have been vaccinated and present the relevant certificate from a public authority and 14 days have passed since the vaccination.
Essentially, and as shown by the planning of the hoteliers themselves who accurately record with paper and pencil the reservations and the trend formed by the prospective tourists, the country will enter the tourist season for good at more than one speed. .
As there are not enough flights on the one hand, and many countries still have closed borders and do not allow travel, businessmen do not expect a significant flow of tourists for this period. So, some are preparing for the official start of May 15, and some for a little later.
After mid-June the “warm” period
As representatives of the hoteliers explain, the restart must be accompanied by the capacity needed to prevent the companies from registering losses. Therefore, according to the data so far, they estimate that despite the official announcement of the opening of tourism on May 14, both May and the first fortnight of June, the traffic will be relatively sluggish, with most flights expected to open during that time. However, they expect a very good season from the end of June to the end of October, provided that the pandemic will subside in Greece and other European countries, and that vaccination programs will accelerate in the near future.
In any case, entrepreneurs estimate that this year’s revenues will range from 40% -50% of the revenues seen in the record year of 2019. It is recalled that last year due to the pandemic, according to the BoG, tourism revenues in 2020 reached 4, 28 billion euros with losses for the tourism industry reaching 13.89 billion euros.