Greek tourism faces tense ‘summer of patience’

ATHENS, July 27 (Reuters) – For two balmy weeks in July, lodge supervisor George Tselios dared to hope his pandemic nightmare was powering him. He was receiving 100 bookings a day for his Rhodes seaside vacation resort – “unthinkable numbers” for the past yr and nearing regular stages.

Then the island was downgraded to “orange” on Greece’s COVID-19 map – one particular level in advance of curfews and other rough limits turn into obligatory – and bookings sunk to all-around 50 a day.

The uncertainty that had plagued tourism since early 2020 was back, to the despair of Tselios and other people in an market that is Greece’s economic mainstay and gives one particular in 5 work opportunities.

“You can only see two to 3 months forward, maximum,” stated Tselios, whose Blue Sea Vacation resort draws visitors from Germany, Britain and Scandinavia. “This is a transitional summer.”

Subsequent a catastrophic yr for worldwide travel, June knowledge for Greece was promising. Worldwide arrivals jumped much more than 13-fold that thirty day period as opposed to 2020, easing fears about a doable wave of bankruptcies among the tourism enterprises.

But August bookings are patchy, and sector officers say it is too before long to forecast how the summer months will unfold.

“For the first time in years, a protected forecast for this year’s tourism revenues cannot be built,” Yannis Retsos, president of tourism confederation SETE, claimed final 7 days.

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

In a signal of hurdles in advance, Greece, which relied intensely on marketing “COVID-free of charge” islands to attract travellers back again, was pressured to impose a week-prolonged curfew and audio ban on its bash island Mykonos following infections surged this thirty day period.

On Rhodes, yet another well-liked island, with about 2.5 million site visitors in 2019, business proprietors stress that the broader south Aegean location could be marked “deep red” by the European Centre for Condition Prevention and Command, and that huge-investing German vacationers may perhaps stay absent.

Fantastic, BUT NOT Good More than enough

In June, the Lender of Greece reported it would get two to three many years for journey and paying out to return to the document amounts of 2019 when Greece noticed 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 stages.

Ioannis Hatzis, who owns a few accommodations on Rhodes and sits on the board of the country’s hoteliers federation, claimed he believed that goal could be achieved, even if demand dipped in the coming months.

“It is a summer of endurance,” he said.

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

“We are carrying out substantially greater than last year,” he explained.

Nevertheless there are likely to be harder economic instances forward, with the Lender of Greece warning that tourism businesses would be most at risk when banking companies removed loan moratoria and the point out withdrew economic aid after the pandemic ends.

About a quarter of financial loans to the sector are considered non-doing, which could pose a broader problem for Greece’s weakened financial program.

Forward of the reopening of tourism in May, Tselios and other business enterprise house owners interviewed by Reuters hoped for a strong season study far more . But with coronavirus variants triggering havoc with government scheduling in Greece as nicely as in critical markets, no one wants to be around optimistic.

Paris Kakas, who runs the Sea Goals ferry corporation on Rhodes, had told Reuters that his company was having difficulties under millions of euros in negative debt. Now, halfway through the season, he is no nearer to repaying his loans. browse far more

“Compared to what we had been anticipating, issues are heading well. But it truly is nowhere close to what we could do in a excellent season,” Kakas explained.

“Visitors is far better than last yr, ticket gross sales are improved than past calendar year, revenues are far better than past calendar year, but for a corporation of our sizing, they are pretty tiny.”

($1 = .8470 euros)

Reporting by Karolina Tagaris and Angeliki Koutantou Enhancing by Pravin Char

Our Specifications: The Thomson Reuters Trust Concepts.

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