Greek tourism is counting its losses

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Greek tourism revenues amounted to 1.37 billion euros in the month of August, below estimates from the government and the Greek Tourism Confederation for takings of €1.5 billion. Over the first eight months of the year revenues reached €2.68 billion.

The huge gap with previous years in revenue terms becomes obvious through the comparison of this August’s takings with those of the same peak month in 2019 (€4.1 billion) and 2018 (€3.6 billion).

Bank of Greece data for the January-August 2019 period had shown tourism revenues of €13.2 billion, up from €11.6 billion in 2018. It therefore becomes obvious that the takings of this year’s first eight months amounted to roughly the revenues from about 15 days in August 2019.

The lost revenues for the Greek economy from tourism this year amounted to €10.52 billion until end-August. The drop of net revenues from travel services is the reason for the reduction of the service surplus this August, which amounted to just €80 million, against €1.8 billion a year earlier.

Arrivals of non-resident travelers and the ensuing collection of revenues shrank by 73.3% and 66.5% respectively in August on an annual basis, while the travel balance deteriorated due to the drop in net takings from sea and air transport. Across the first nine months of 2020 the total number of passengers through Greek airports came to just 16.6 million, posting an annual decline of 68.9% from last year’s 53.4 million passengers in January-September.

Given these figures and the growing second wave of the pandemic, it is quite unlikely for the revised target of €3.5 billion in tourism revenues to be achieved for the whole of 2020, let alone the original adjustment of forecasts that had spoken of €5 billion.

Lampsa Hotels Director for Corporate Growth Chloe-Maria Laskaridi estimated at a forum yesterday that the full recovery of tourism will not come before 2023 or even 2024, noting that the crisis might offer investment opportunities for long-term investors.


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