Despite an early end to this year’s tourism season due to the resurgence in coronavirus cases, as a destination Greece has won the safe operation challenge, which bodes well for a much better 2021.
Provisional estimates by large hoteliers and tour operators, as well as by leading officials in the tourism sector for next year see the industry’s activity recovering 50% of the record year of 2019, up from 20% in 2020. This is unless a serious resurgence of the pandemic takes place, or the standoff with Turkey spins out of control.
Experts estimate that the number of foreign visitors will more than double next year, compared with 2020, and if this proves correct it would also help boost the recovery process of the national economy.
Greek Tourism Confederation chief Yiannis Retsos told Kathimerini that “the conditions are there for 2021 to reach up to 50% of 2019 figures.”
Such is the positive outlook for next year that, for example, the hotels of the Sani/Ikos group have already sold 22% of their night stays for 2021 in the group’s nine units, management sources have told Kathimerini. At the same point of the year in 2019, before the coronavirus outbreak, the group had only 8%-9% of its capacity booked for 2020.
The same sources say that these bookings for 2021 do not include those who canceled their holidays this year and received a voucher, but new sales and re-bookings. The Sani/Ikos group, which currently appears better positioned ahead of next season based on the bookings reported, attributes this picture to its policy of covering the cost of testing all of its guests twice and to the strict health protocols it has applied.
Grecotel management sources say that although it is too early to make any safe predictions about 2021, they already discern strong demand for next year. Based on their contacts with major tour operators, the prospect of a coronavirus vaccine coming out and indications that next season will also include May, the management sources estimate that next year the group can recover 60%-70% of the occupancy of 2019.
This article was first published on ekathimerini.com