Greek tourism could lose billions from crisis

13th April 2009, Comments 1 comment

The SETE chairman said the close of the early booking season indicated a 20-percent drop in nationwide arrivals compared to last year.

Athens -- The global economic downturn could cost Greece's vital tourism industry at least five billion euros (6.6 billion dollars) in lost income and thousands of jobs, sector operators said Wednesday.

"In total ... the loss of revenue will reach at least five billion euros and tens of thousands of jobs (will be lost)," the chairman of the association of Greek tourism enterprises (SETE) Nikos Angelopoulos told a news conference.

The SETE chairman said the close of the early booking season indicated a 20-percent drop in nationwide arrivals compared to last year.

There is also a 20-percent fall in cruise ship demand while luxury boat bookings are down 50 percent, he added.

"Unless this fall is checked, it will probably mean three million fewer tourists" with a loss of 2.3 billion in direct operator revenue and the rest from secondary spending on goods and services, Angelopoulos said.

The rise of the euro against the British pound and eastern European currencies has also hurt Greece's competitiveness against neighbouring Turkey and Egypt whose own currencies have dropped in value, he said.

The findings confirm fears voiced by Greek tourism operators last month when early figures showed a 30-percent drop from Britain and a 20-percent fall from Germany according to the association of travel and tourist agencies (Hatta).

A study released in February by EFG Eurobank, Greece's third-largest lender, warned that the country's tourist arrivals were threatened with the largest drop in nearly 20 years by the global pinch on income.

Recession and economic slowdown in OECD countries -- which include the main Western economies -- traditionally either coincide or are followed by "tangible" falls in tourist arrivals in Greece, the study said.

The country's main source of income after shipping, tourism makes up 18 percent of the Greek economy and employs over 850,000 people directly or indirectly according to the tourism ministry.

SETE's Angelopoulos on Wednesday said the sector employs 20 percent of the national workforce and is the Greek equivalent of the US auto industry.

AFP/Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • A. Cameron posted:

    on 13th April 2009, 11:00:13 - Reply

    I don't suppose the activities of terrorists has had anything to do with it! Doh!