The outlook for the tourism industry is bleak again, as the rapid spread of the “omicron” mutation does not leave much room for positive assessments, at least for the first quarter of the new year, dramatically changing the climate of optimism that had begun to form at the end of a admittedly satisfactory – given the conditions – tourist year.
And while the Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias announces the opening of the new season for March 2nd, Wednesday, Greek tourism officials estimate that it will be positive if this year tourism manages to start in the second quarter and not in the third as in 2021. Other institutional actors are also preparing a “report” to the government asking for the support of a large portion of Greek hotels that did not benefit from the recovery of the industry last season while also faced with increased energy costs.
So it seems that the good performance for the successful data conditions of 2021 was quickly forgotten, a year in which the goals were exceeded, partially satisfying almost all parties. With revenues that will approach, if not exceed, 10.5 billion euros or about 56.2% of revenues in 2019, the financial staff has every reason to be satisfied, as this number means two extra points of GDP.
The hoteliers are also satisfied to some extent, certainly the seasonal ones and the resorts and those business sectors that are directly related to tourism (travel agents, air transport, coastal shipping, etc.) as the revenues are by 3 billion. euros more than the set initially set by SETE for this year.
The performance of our competitors
Referring to the passing year, what is still worth noting is that not all of our country’s competitors recovered at the same speed.
For example. the Spanish market recovered in 2021 (ten-month data) 33.28% of arrivals in 2019 and 29.94% of receipts. Turkey, however, showed higher recovery rates, 53.7% in arrivals and 57.35% in receipts.
In our country, the arrivals and receipts of the ten months represent 46% and 58% of the respective levels of 2019.
The data of the BoG
However, in general, Greece in the Mediterranean market, according to the interim report of the Bank of Greece, according to the data of the period January-September 2021, has maintained its position in relation to the major competing destinations, occupying the fourth position after Spain, Italy and Turkey. In addition, it has increased its share in total receipts and arrivals in the region compared to the same period of 2019.
For 2022, however, what has been recorded as goals so far is in the most positive scenario to approach the levels of 2019 as stated in the interim report of the Bank of Greece “The performance of the tourism sector in 2021 creates favorable expectations for travel and relevant receipts for the next year, during which performance is expected to take place approximately at the levels of 2019 “.
Also, business expectations in the sectors related to tourism (accommodation, catering, travel agencies, etc.) have returned to positive ground and even to the levels they had recorded before the pandemic crisis.
For his part, the Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias appears optimistic and announces that the new tourist season will start on March 2, 2022 and will end on November 30.
The president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) Giannis Retsos estimates that in any case and if particularly negative developments are avoided in relation to the pandemic that Greek tourism expects a better 2022 than 2021 and 2020, emphasizing that 2022 will However, it is a year of pandemics. However, Greek tourism hopes to start its activity in the second quarter and not the third as in 2021, always focusing on security issues. The president of SETE also places special emphasis on the need to formulate a broader strategy for the coming years. As he recently noted, “the time has come for Greek tourism to shift from improvised development to a more careful, targeted and effective way of working, and we hope that the INSETE study” Greek Tourism 2030 | Action Plans “will lay the groundwork for extensive consultation and discussion. In order to rebound better we have to think, to learn, to plan the future with a clear mind and humility. With synergies and partnerships we can formulate the agenda for the real transformation of tourism and transition to the next day “.
The president of the Hotel Chamber of Greece, Alexandros Vasilikos, avoids any estimate for 2022 and focuses on formulating a draft proposal that he will submit to the government immediately after the holidays in order to support those hotel units of continuous operation but also of winter destinations that did not benefit. Greek tourism showed a recovery in 2020. As he points out to ot.gr, this is the minority of hotel units, however this should also be added as there is a question of sustainability in many of them, especially the winter destinations, where it seems that the Christmas and New Year holidays, despite the relatively good fullness, are not enough to rectify lost income due to coronavirus, a situation that is exacerbated by rising energy costs.
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