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Greek PM Mitsotakis Sees Strong Rebound in Tourism in 2021

Tourism 2021
Credit: Greek Reporter

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis forecast a strong rebound in tourism in the summer of 2021, saying speedy vaccination drives in key markets for Greece, including Britain and Israel, will pave the way for tourists to return despite the current industry’s gloom, according to a report out of Reuters on Thursday.

Tourism, which accounts for about 20 percent of the Greek economy and directly employs one in five workers, collapsed last year as the coronavirus pandemic sent its revenues slumping to 4 billion euros from a high of 18 billion in 2019, according to the report.

Since last summer, when the pandemic subsided across Europe, the virus has surged once again, triggering renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions and pushing the region’s death toll above 750,000. Vaccines are now making their way through the most critical populations but the supply is lagging all over the world.

“I am a realist, but I am also cautiously optimistic that we will do much better than last year,” Mitsotakis told Reuters.

The Prime Minister also defended a decision to coordinate EU member states’ vaccine purchases through the European Commission, saying the bloc’s smaller countries would have faced serious problems negotiating deals on their own.

Sector absorbed gigantic losses in 2020

Greek tourism took a giant plunge in the third quarter of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

In the accommodation sector, the turnover in the third quarter amounted to only 1.55 billion euros, recording a decrease of 61.4 percent compared to the third quarter in 2019, when it had amounted to 4.034 billion euros.

In popular tourist destinations, such as Mykonos, the decrease in turnover in the third quarter was 75.7 percent, in Santorini the drop was 70.8 percent, in all prefectures of Crete it was over 60 percent, in Paros 67 percent, in Halkidiki 71 percent, and in Rhodes 68.7 percent, while the figures in the Ionian islands were similar.

In total, in the first nine months of last year, the accommodation sector had revenues of only 1.89 billion euros, when last year in the corresponding period revenues was 6.15 billion euros, representing a loss of 4.26 billion euros.