President of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers Grigoris Tassios characterizes the conditions that have formed for Greek tourism in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
In his statement to the publication iefimerida.gr, “At the moment, there is a “freeze” of bookings. The situation has changed dramatically, but it developed at a good pace until the end of February in terms of booking seats and buying tours. “As long as there is no truce, the season is in jeopardy,” says the expert.
In particular, speaking of tourists from Russia and Ukraine, he explains that in addition to the psychological consequences of the war, there are also economic ones, since after the latest inflationary pressures the situation will become even more complicated.
“A good scenario for the tourism industry is its regularity. The government and relevant ministry expected the tourist season to start in April. But, as everything shows, now it has been postponed until May. This is my assessment. We hope to be able to catch up before the end of the season,” said Mr. Tassios.
As for Russian tourists
According to all official data, in 2019 Greece received 600,000 Russian tourists and 150,000 Ukrainians. At the same time, there were 6 million tourists from Russia in neighboring Turkey as no visa is required and the countries reached a transnational agreement.
The President of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers speaks of a huge difference in numbers compared to Turkey, which is highly competitive. “Russia was in 7th place upon arrival in 2019 in our country. It is very important how the countries from 1st to 6th place will behave, and whether they will choose our country for their summer holidays this season,” he emphasizes.
Orientation to other countries – a “loss” for northern Greece from the loss of Russian tourists
Of course, in northern Greece and in particular in Halkidiki, Thassos, Pieria, Kavala and Thessaloniki, the effects of the war in Ukraine on tourism are expected to be more intense. That’s why, points out Mr. Tassios, who does business in the region, “Efforts should be made to attract tourists of other nationalities so that we have less losses.”
Currently 200 rooms in northern Greece are available for refugees
It is noted that the Greek hoteliers from the first moment said they were ready to provide humanitarian assistance and housing to civilians arriving in Greece from Ukraine. A small number of refugees have already been housed in rooms in northern Greece, while over 200 rooms have been announced in Kavala, Katerini and Thessaloniki to support these people.
“From today, Tuesday, will be put into operation platform of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, where my colleagues across the country will be able to announce their availability and training dates in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Immigration Policy,” said Mr. Tassios.