The Greek tourism industry has collapsed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and on track to lose at least 50% of its revenues in 2020, said Grigoris Tasios, President of the Greek Hoteliers Association, who spoke with the Greek Reporter last week.
The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, a group that oversees the tourism industry in Greece, warned in a new study on Monday that a bankruptcy wave looms.
Alexandros Vasilikos, the president of the Chamber, told the Greek Reporter this week that a recovery in the tourism industry, reverting to 2019 growth rates, could take a very long time to achieve.
According to the Chamber's study, 65% of Greek hotels indicate that the threat of bankruptcy is "likely" or "most likely" — at 46.6% and 18.3%, respectively.
About 95% of hotels said their business volumes had been halved since the crisis unfolded. The Chamber is estimating that the hotel sector would lose upwards of 4.46 billion Euros in 2020.
Tasios told Greek Reporter last week that the tourism industry is facing an unprecedented crisis:
"It is very difficult to plan ahead during these times, simply because we do not know how long the coronavirus scare will last. We hope to launch the Greek tourist season on July 1, but this is speculative, since everything will depend on how the virus situation will unfold," he said.
Tasios said about 300 hotels are currently operating in the entire country under strict social distancing rules. Thousands remain closed, as nationwide lockdowns from mid-March extend into April.
"We really do not know how many will be in a position to reopen when the situation becomes normal again," he said, noting that hoteliers up and down the country basically have zero income right now.
"We are monitoring developments in the pandemic on a day-to-day basis, not just in Greece but throughout the world, and in particular, in the countries that are tourist markets for Greece," Tasios said. He then added that the number of arrivals from Greece's traditional markets will probably be far lower than that of previous years.
"I think that the situation in Germany, UK, France, Poland and maybe Russia, countries that are among the top five tourism markets for Greece, does not allow much optimism about a quick rebound in visitors," he explained.
The Greek Ministry of Tourism announced last month that it would reopen the industry around April 30.
For the remainder of the year, tourism across the Western world will struggle to attract guests, specifically in Europe and the US.
We noted last month that the Spanish tourism industry plummeted after the country went into lockdown following a massive surge in cases and deaths. The tourism industry across Europe has likely gone bust as well.
Flight bans across the world have made it almost impossible for people to travel to top tourist destinations.
Several weeks ago, we reported how the services sector in the US crashed, especially travel and tourism and other consumer-facing industries.
With no proven vaccine, people are likely to stay home in 2020 -- no matter how much optimism governments create in their attempt to reopen crashed economies. It could be years until the global travel and tourism industry recovers.