Greek tourism faces tense ‘summer of patience’

Penni Schewe

ATHENS, July 26 (Reuters) – For two balmy months in July, resort manager George Tselios dared to hope his pandemic nightmare was driving him. He was having 100 bookings a working day for his Rhodes seaside resort – “unthinkable quantities” for the previous calendar year and nearing typical stages.

Then the island was downgraded to “orange” on Greece’s COVID-19 map – one level before curfews and other tricky limitations turn into obligatory – and bookings sunk to close to 50 a day.

The uncertainty that experienced plagued tourism due to the fact early 2020 was back again, to the despair of Tselios and other folks in an industry that is Greece’s economic mainstay and provides one particular in 5 employment.

“You can only see two to 3 months forward, utmost,” claimed Tselios, whose Blue Sea Resort attracts guests from Germany, Britain and Scandinavia. “This is a transitional summer season.”

Adhering to a catastrophic calendar year for international journey, June data for Greece was promising. International arrivals jumped far more than 13-fold that month versus 2020, easing fears about a attainable wave of bankruptcies between tourism organizations.

But August bookings are patchy, and business officers say it is way too soon to forecast how the summertime will unfold.

“For the initially time in years, a protected forecast for this year’s tourism revenues simply cannot be designed,” Yannis Retsos, president of tourism confederation SETE, mentioned final week.

“The favourable momentum could, at any minute, be overtaken by insecurity, and vice-versa.”

In a signal of hurdles in advance, Greece, which relied heavily on advertising “COVID-cost-free” islands to attract holidaymakers again, was compelled to impose a week-prolonged curfew and songs ban on its celebration island Mykonos right after bacterial infections surged this month.

On Rhodes, another preferred island, with around 2.5 million website visitors in 2019, business homeowners be concerned that the broader south Aegean area may be marked “deep red” by the European Centre for Disease Avoidance and Command, and that big-spending German holidaymakers may possibly remain absent.

Fantastic, BUT NOT Very good Plenty of

In June, the Bank of Greece claimed it would take two to 3 years for vacation and investing to return to the record amounts of 2019 when Greece observed above 33 million travellers and 18 billion euros ($21.3 billion) in revenues. It forecast this year’s revenues would be 40% of 2019’s levels.

Ioannis Hatzis, who owns three resorts on Rhodes and sits on the board of the country’s hoteliers federation, explained he believed that concentrate on could be satisfied, even if desire dipped in the coming months.

“It is a summer time of persistence,” he mentioned.

The sentiment was echoed by Grigoris Tasios, president of the Greek hoteliers federation.

“We are undertaking considerably far better than very last calendar year,” he stated.

However there are most likely to be more durable money moments ahead, with the Financial institution of Greece warning that tourism businesses would be most at hazard when financial institutions eradicated personal loan moratoria and the condition withdrew fiscal help the moment the pandemic ends.

About a quarter of loans to the sector are deemed non-executing, which could pose a broader challenge for Greece’s weakened financial procedure.

Ahead of the reopening of tourism in May well, Tselios and other business enterprise house owners interviewed by Reuters hoped for a sturdy time examine more . But with coronavirus variants triggering havoc with federal government arranging in Greece as properly as in key markets, nobody wants to be above optimistic.

Paris Kakas, who runs the Sea Desires ferry firm on Rhodes, had explained to Reuters that his corporation was struggling less than hundreds of thousands of euros in undesirable personal debt. Now, midway through the period, he is no closer to repaying his loans. browse a lot more

“Compared to what we ended up expecting, items are going nicely. But it truly is nowhere close to what we could do in a superior period,” Kakas claimed.

“Site visitors is superior than very last yr, ticket profits are superior than previous calendar year, revenues are greater than last calendar year, but for a enterprise of our sizing, they are quite tiny.”

($1 = .8470 euros)

Reporting by Karolina Tagaris and Angeliki Koutantou Enhancing by Pravin Char

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Concepts.

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