Greece is trying to get back on its feet after the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry in the past two years. However, the upcoming summer season will again be challenging, as events in the political arena have changed the psychology of many travelers who are wondering if it is worth going anywhere from home at all in such difficult times.
Experts note that the tourist offices of Northern Greece have recently only worked with car tours within the borders. In their opinion, the situation once again has nothing to do with pre-pandemic times. parallaximag.gr.
In 2022, the number of professionals working in the tourism industry has dropped significantly as the industry has become unprofitable. If the situation stabilizes in the coming days, perhaps the “climate” will change for the better during the three days of March 25 and, of course, at Easter.
Not only the situation in Ukraine affects the tourism industry. The collapse of the economy, the consequences of the energy crisis, as well as rising fuel prices are bringing tourism professionals to their knees.
Agencies of the sector, regardless of traffic and sold tours, bear operating costs, have bills and obligations that need to be paid. At the same time, consumers are hesitating as to whether they can invest in a few-day off-season trip or wait until the summer season.
On the positive side, however, is the fact that, despite numerous difficulties, the industry can hold its own, and not a single tourist office in Northern Greece has closed for the moment.
The risk of missing a year due to Russia’s decision in March to cancel the sale of tour packages to countries that have imposed sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine naturally affects Greece as well. Especially if we talk about the host of travelers who in recent years (before the pandemic) chose Greece, with the difference that in 2013 there were about 1.3 million arrivals from Russia, and in the three years of 2017-2019, more than 800,000.
The industry’s revenue from travelers from Russia is estimated to have reached €433 million in 2019. Now, of course, everything is changing, since the first cancellations, package freezes and reservations are a fact, and no one knows how the situation will develop this summer.
Halkidiki professionals have calculated that a total of 900,000 travelers from Russia and Ukraine were expected this year in the country, many of whom would choose the region, as well as Northern Greece in general, for their stay. But now this is out of the question.
The psychology of travelers from the United States is also questionable, who at the moment seem to be numb and not considering the possibility of a holiday in Europe this summer, because they believe that in any country they travel to they may be in danger due to the war in Ukraine.
Another thorn in the side is higher fares in case airlines are forced to choose a different flight plan if they are unable to cross Russian airspace.
Developments in the Black and Baltic Seas, as well as fears of further escalation in Europe and the Aegean, are causing concern in the cruise industry, with big companies also taking a wait-and-see approach.
Touching upon the issue of tourism, V. Kikilias emphasized that “based on the rapid growth of the tourism product in the country and throughout Europe in recent years, there is a need for additional 50,000 jobs. Last year they were not filled with Greek labor, so they could be filled by our emigrants or Ukrainian refugees if they come to Greece to stay.” The procedure is provided for in the Presidential Decree of 2006, Article 80 (Προεδρικό Διάταγμα του 2006, άρθρο 80). As V. Kikilias notes, “it provides for amnesty, care for refugees and labor relations on the basis of the European cooperation framework, the conclusion of collective labor agreements.”