HSBC expects a rebound in Greek tourism that will bolster the country’s gross domestic product, although that depends on five key factors that will determine the course of the season.
On Thursday the government announced the terms on which tourism will open as of this morning. Estimates regarding the level of revenues vary significantly, but their importance for Greece is beyond doubt.
The British lender notes in an analysis that tourism constitutes an essential economic pillar in this country as well as the rest of the European South. The HSBC baseline scenario, with zero international tourism up to May, is for 2021 tourism flows to South Europe to be slightly higher than in 2020, but remain 50-60% below the 2019 level (from -60% to -75% last year). Next year revenues are projected to come in 5-10% below the 2019 takings.
Tourism is even more important for Greece than for rival destinations: HSBC estimates that the return of tourists will give the GDP of Spain and Portugal a 1% boost, while Greece will get an additional 2%. It adds that last year’s poor tourism season shaved 6% off Greece’s GDP.
As tourists return in droves next year, the GDP gains for Greece are projected at 4%, not ruling out an even greater rebound of the sector.
The rebound of tourism will depend on a number of factors, HSBC points out: They are vaccine availability, the cost of PCR tests (for those not inoculated), the level of Covid cases at destinations, the conditions at rival destinations such as Turkey and in key markets such as the UK, and the level of demand.
The British bank cites the example of a four-member family from the UK that has not been vaccinated and wishes to travel to Greece this summer: They will have to pay more than 1,000 pounds in total for their tests, as each family member must get tested twice – i.e. before their departure and after their return.
Nevertheless TUI is offering a test package (with two tests) to each customer costing just 60 pounds.