How Greek tourism may evolve in Covid-19 reality

parthenon tourists 768x400 1

parthenon tourists 768x400 1

Consulting firm Deloitte Greece presented three alternative scenarios about how the landscape of the Greek tourism and hospitality industry might evolve in 2020 and 2021 in the new reality posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Included in a study titled “Bringing the latest insights on the Greek Tourism & Hospitality sector – Scenarios on the impact of COVID-19”, Deloitte Greece makes speculations (not predictions) about what could happen and has developed three economic cases with a medium-term view (18-24 months).

According to Deloitte Greece, the three scenarios are designed to:

  • help the sector’s business leaders and key stakeholders undertake strategic, financial, and operational planning for 2020 and 2021
  •  take decisive action to respond to the shocks yet to come, and at the same time prepare for what might change in the months and years ahead
  • question themselves and think how trends and developments we experience during the pandemic could shape what the global and Greek tourism and hospitality sector might look in the more long run.

Deloitte Greek Tourism Covid 19 mild

Mild: In its first scenario, Deloitte says the pandemic is met with an increasingly effective health system and political response in Q3 2020 and there is no “second wave” and international traveling begins again aided by effective health protocols. City hotels and summer resorts gradually open sometime in June or early July, respectively, whereas strong Government measures have positive impact. Greek tourism rebounds to 2019 levels within 2-3 years, as international travelling returns gradually to normal and Greece increases its market share.

Deloitte Greek Tourism Covid 19 1 harsh

Harsh: Deloitte’s second scenario shows the pandemic persisting as attempts to remove lockdowns in various countries result to consequent waves of the disease, even during summer. In Greece, the disease is somewhat contained during summer but outbreaks occur from September onwards. The economy and international travel market start to rebound late in 2020, continuing to recover slowly until the second half of 2021, as confidence gradually returns. Greek tourism rebounds to 2019 levels in 3-4 years.

Deloitte Greek Tourism Covid 19 1 severe

Severe: In the third and most severe scenario, Deloitte presents the epidemic continuing with severe infection rates into 2021 until either crowd immunity and/or a vaccine reduce the vitality. Rolling waves of the disease continue to rock the globe, the economy and the international markets for longer than anyone was prepared for, creating widespread social unrest and leading to increased isolationism. Economic and international travel market recovery starts in 2022 with structural changes in the sector. In this scenario, it takes more than 5 years for Greek tourism to rebound.

According to the consulting firm, traditionally, tourism and consequently hospitality is one of the sectors that recover quickly after a crisis and thus, it is expected that Greek tourism can rebound in 2021 if Covid-19 pandemic is eliminated promptly (e.g. successful contact tracing and quarantine measures in all countries, vaccine becomes available).

But what changes should you expect on your first trip after the pandemic?

Will You Require an Immunity Passport?

While small outbreaks of COVID-19 continue to threaten populations, individual countries - including Greece - are unlikely to risk contagion. Prior to the major outbreak of the pandemic, many airports were conducting temperature checks but this may not be considered sufficient in the near future. It is possible that airports will require immunity or vaccination certificates to ensure safe and virus-free movement of persons. Read Greece’s health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.

New Rules for the EU

Greece is calling on the European Commission to adapt its proposal for a pre-travel coronavirus test to be instituted across the EU in order to allow travel to begin once the lockdown measures are lifted.

Italian company, Nuova Neon Group, dreamed up a visionary idea to encourage safe beachgoing. This involves the use of plexiglass cubicles around every sunbed and parasols on beaches. The cubicles would measure around 2 metres and be between 4 and 5 metres long. Clearly, more companies will be providing ‘out of the box’ solutions as the health threat decreases enough to permit freer movement between cities and countries.

This idea has been used at a beach bar in Santorini.

Changes to Travel Insurance

Not since the Spanish flu has a virus put a stop to tourism to this extent, and this could lead to new types of health insurance being offered to travellers. Currently, there is confusion regarding whether or not people who bought health insurance before COVID-19 are covered. Across the globe, many insurers that did cover pandemics/epidemics cut off cover to those travelling to high-risk areas such as China once COVID-19 was discovered. Forbes believes that new policies will contain more limitations, while ‘cancel for any reason’ policies will become a thing of the past.

COVID-19 has impacted the tourism sector in a big way. Owing to its novelty, it is impossible to say the extent to which it will impact travel, since an earlier-than-expected vaccine could certainly boost tourism in a major way. In the near future, just a few changes to be expected include the requirement of vaccination or immunity certificates, innovative solutions for distancing, and tighter requirements for travel insurance. 

*This article was sourced from GTP, with the contribution of Sara Katlyn Morrison. 

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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