Greek tourism accelerates recovery

Source: People’s Daily Online

At present, Greece has entered the peak tourist season. Greece’s “Daily” recently reported that in the next few months, Greece’s hotel occupancy rate and flight occupancy rate will return to pre-epidemic levels, and Greece’s tourism revenue in 2022 is expected to increase by about 10% compared to 2019. Rezos, president of the Greek Tourism Federation, also said recently that Greece’s tourism revenue this year is expected to surpass that of 2019.

Tourism is a pillar industry of the Greek economy, contributing more than 20% to the GDP and providing about 10% of the country’s employment. In 2019, Greece attracted a record 33 million international tourists. After the outbreak, Greece received only 7 million tourists in 2020, and tourism revenue fell to 4 billion euros from 18.2 billion euros in 2019.

In order to revive the tourism industry, the Greek government has continued to launch a number of support measures. The Greek government allocated 1 billion euros from the recovery fund allocated by the European Union to promote the construction of tourism infrastructure, which is expected to benefit about 80 related industries. For low-income people in the country, the Greek government has launched a “national tourism” holiday subsidy program with a budget of 31 million euros from July. The Greek Ministry of Tourism also conducts promotional activities for many countries, promoting winter travel itineraries and some niche tourist destinations.

Data released by the Greek tourism department show that the number of international passenger arrivals in Greece in April has basically recovered to the level of 2019, and the number of flights has recovered to 90% of 2019. Greek airports handled 8.1 million passengers from January to April this year, nearly four times the same period last year. Inbound tourists are mainly from Germany, France and the United States. Greek Tourism Minister Vasilis Kikilias said that many airlines have resumed direct flights to Greek cities, and the occupancy rate of hotels near many attractions exceeds 70%, and the occupancy rate of hotels in popular attractions such as Santorini is even close to 100%. Data show that bookings for short-term rentals in Greece this summer are 232% higher than the same period last year, and annual turnover will exceed pre-pandemic levels.

The rapid recovery of tourism has greatly increased the demand for practitioners in related fields. The Greek Tourism Association expects 50,000 job vacancies in the Greek tourism industry due to a surge in tourists. The Greek government has announced that it will raise the minimum wage to boost tourism employment.

Thanks to the accelerated recovery of tourism, the Greek government expects the Greek economy to grow by 6.1% this year and 4.5% next year. Standard & Poor’s, an international rating agency, previously announced that Greece’s long-term sovereign credit rating has been raised one notch from “BB” to “BB+”, with a “stable” outlook. This is the third time this year that an international rating agency has upgraded Greece’s long-term sovereign credit rating. “People’s Daily” (July 26, 2022 Edition 17)