SETE: The pandemic of COVID -19 and Greek tourism

 

PRESS RELEASE | 09.04.20

 The emergence and spread of COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented international public health crisis, while the global economy tends to enter an unprecedented recession. Tourism is one of the first sectors to be hit with great speed and intensity and will continue to be tested hard.

INSETE, in a study entitled: “The pandemic of COVID-19 and Greek tourism”, evaluates the factors that affect the course of tourism and data on the ten main markets of Greece – based on their contribution to the country’s tourist revenues – of which about 2/3 of the revenue comes from. The factors that affect the duration and depth of the tourist decline are, at this stage, impossible to estimate quantitatively. Briefly:

a) The main question is when the pandemic will be addressed from a health point of view (treatment and / or vaccine and / or preventive control measures) to a sufficient degree, so that citizens around the world feel safe to travel again. Then, it will depend on the availability of citizens in our countries – markets to travel and their disposable income, but also the opportunities they will have to get a summer leave from the organizations / companies that work or – for the self-employed – to stop their work.

b) The lifting of travel restrictions and the restoration of air connections play a crucial role, both in the outgoing tourism from our markets and in the incoming tourism in Greece.

c) Any bankruptcies that have in the meantime occurred in the production chain of the travel experience (airlines, tour operators, hotels, etc.) as well as the speed of restoration of this chain, will also play an important role.

d) The comparative picture that each country has created of the way it has handled the pandemic, especially in terms of how safe visitors will feel, is an additional important factor.

In more detail:

At the epidemiological level, the development so far in Greece is much better than in its main competitors in tourism, such as Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. It is worth noting that in global tourism crises over the past two decades, the recovery began the following year. But revenue recovery was slower than arrivals recovery. The recovery that will, at some point, come to world tourism, is not expected to be evenly distributed, either geographically or between different sectors. Also, the duration of the crisis cannot be determined precisely on the basis of previous crises, let alone the one that has very special characteristics.

On the plus side, it eliminates the need for citizens to travel when health conditions allow. Based on the comparative development of the pandemic in the country so far, Greece may have the opportunity to improve its comparative position and possibly recover somewhat faster than other markets. In any case, the loss of tourism revenue in 2020 will be extensive given their distribution per quarter (Q1: 4%, Q2: 26%, Q3: 59%, Q4: 11%, based on Border Survey 2019 data) and given that The 2nd quarter has essentially already been lost, while it is still uncertain when the extraordinary measures will end both in Greece and in its markets, but also at what pace will the latter recover.

For the recovery it is necessary to preserve the “brand Greece”. Greece has proven many times that it responds successfully to difficulties. This is also evident at this time. All necessary measures have been taken in a timely manner to reduce the spread of the virus and citizens are responding to it. To date, it has shown a picture of responsibility and seriousness in the European and international environment, which will “collect” it in the future, as long as it continues to move at the same pace as planned.

Moreover, the great dispersion of the customer base of the Greek destination, is another advantage that enables it to take advantage of the various markets, as they will recover. The emerging recovery of Asia and especially China before our traditional markets, combined with the country’s comparatively better picture than competition, creates the opportunity for further openness in these markets. If the willingness of citizens to travel is confirmed, as soon as conditions allow, there is a possibility that there will be a comparatively higher demand for travel services in the fourth quarter of this year and possibly in September.

Of course, a precondition for all the above, apart from the health dimension, is that the productive fabric of the country’s tourist activity has not been severely affected by the prolongation of the pandemic for a long time. For this reason, maintaining the productive fabric, business and labor, the wider economy until the crisis is normalized, must be a major concern of our politicians. The structure and scope of economic policy decisions at European level is a crucial contributor to this.

You will see the full text of the study HERE.

source – sete.gr (Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises)

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