First numbers: the tourist season in Greece is open

The season officially opened on May 14, and major tour operators have reportedly launched charter flights. Already 150 thousand foreign guests, according to the Ministry of Tourism, have arrived in Greece during this period.

The tourist arrivals trend remains positive. Everything shows that this year will be better than last, provided that the vaccination process continues at a steady pace.

However, according to the tourism industry, the season “essentially” starts in July. There is a demand for travel packages for June, but the bulk of bookings are for the second half of the year as the epidemiological burden is believed to be further reduced and there will be fewer restrictions.

First arrivals

According to TUI Germany, the first 12 thousand tourists have already come to Greece on vacation. TUI fly started flights to Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Kos and Peloponnese from the moment of the official opening of the tourist season. Along with Greece, the demand for the Canary Islands is growing, German tour operators say.

The data on the tourist flow at the international airports of the South Aegean Sea are optimistic, which is reflected in the official information from Fraport. From 13 to 23 May, the airports of the South Aegean Sea hosted more than 250 international flights, which brought over 33,000 foreign visitors to the islands.

Digital health certificate

The entry protocol for Greece requires filling out the PLF the day before departure, obtaining a vaccination or PCR certificate 72 hours before the flight, or a certificate of recovery.

In June, the COVID-19 Green Pass is activated following an agreement between the European Parliament and Member States on a proposal made by Greece to digitally “prove” that a person has been vaccinated or tested negative or recovered from COVID-19.

The digital certificate is considered another powerful weapon for the growth of tourism, as it facilitates the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during a pandemic.

Tourism in Greece: from “survival mode” to peak growth

The survival mode we have been in since the start of the pandemic is now being replaced by the early tourism recovery from June. According to experts, this will be followed by a phase of late recovery in 2022, in order to reach the take-off stage (peak growth) of tourism by 2023.

This year, reservations are made at the last minute. Many potential visitors are thinking about a holiday in Santorini (as can be seen from search engines), but tourism leaders are confident that potential travelers will make a reservation as close as possible to the date of the possible trip.

From the beginning of June, according to experts, it will be seen that the number of bookings is growing exponentially, provided that vaccinations go smoothly.

Based on today’s data, the flow of tourists from the UK will begin when our country changes from orange to green (in terms of epidemiological situation), which is expected to be announced on May 31, and the change will take effect on June 7.

There will be few US guests this year. However, given the record-breaking rate of vaccinations in America, experts believe there will finally be movement on the islands from July.

Tourists from China do not have to wait, as there is a travel ban.

German citizens seem to be gradually starting to arrive in Greece from July, as will the French, who are currently very actively looking for safe holiday destinations, staying in the Mediterranean country. At the same time, Russia and the Balkans will also begin to come to Greece from July.

The goal is to extend the season

The 2021 tourist season kicked off with hopes and fears. The first goal is health. The hospitality industry is poised to implement updated health protocols. There is a lot of interest from the international tourism market, which is not yet expressed in booking.

As for the tourist flow, the climate will be uncertain until July. Experts hope that from July to October are the four months in which this year’s tourist season will take place.

The goal is a mini-extension of the season of “hopes” until November, as far as possible, based on the programs of tour operators.

A prerequisite is to get out of the “red or orange” color according to epidemiological data. However, it is necessary for the country not only to become green, but also to maintain this epidemiological advantage over competitors in the tourism sector, because, ultimately, this will determine the tourist flow.

Accelerating the national vaccination program, together with individual responsibility to keep the epidemiological situation in Greece low, is critical.

Based on the data currently available, the country hopes to achieve a tourist flow rate within 40% of the 2019 figures.

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