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Greece: Tourism keeps up momentum

European tourism giant TUI is recording strong demand for holidays in Greece in September and October, based on data from the first few days of this month.

Sources from the German multinational tour operator show that the searches and bookings it has recorded for this month and next have maintained the momentum seen in July and August, which exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic officials.

It is therefore estimated that the extension of the tourism season this fall will help Greece to expand the recovery of its tourism activity from the current 40-50% of the record-breaking 2019, to more than 50%.

The markets Greece has received most visitors from this year are Germany and Poland, and TUI finds that this looks set to continue strong into the fall; Greece also ranks top in the preferences of the Scandinavian countries, Austria, and, crucially, in France, TUI sources said after reviewing its bookings. Demand from Poland remains vibrant, as are bookings from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The same sources stress that in Belgium the number 1 destination is the island of Rhodes.

Given that this picture hasn’t changed while the Delta variant of the coronavirus rages both in those markets and in Greece, it is estimated that it would take a considerable deterioration in the health crisis for the travel behavior of Greece’s potential visitors to change.

Tourism Ministry data showed that Greece became a more popular destination for the French than France itself in July, and so far this year more than 500,000 travelers have visited from France. Sales for Greece in July 2019 posted a 10% increase compared to 2019, while provisional figures indicate the same about August too.

At the same time, data from ForwardKeys, which analyzes daily bookings of flight tickets, reveal that while international flights to European destinations in July and August came to 40% of 2019 levels, flights to Greece came to 86% of the local tourism’s record year.