Greece’s tourism sector is leading the way in Europe covering lost ground despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the massive wildfires that hit the country this month, said the Financial Times citing global travel data provider OAG.
More specifically, according to OAG, the total number of seats on scheduled flights to Greece this month reached pre-Covid-19 levels, with the number of international flights up by 2 percent against August 2019.
Total August capacity for Europe, however, was approximately 31 percent below August 2019 levels.
“Greece is winning the race for tourism recovery in Europe,” said the London-based paper.
Indicative of Greece’s improved performance compared to rival countries, capacity in Spain was 25 percent below 2019 levels, France was 31 percent down on August 2019, Italy was down by 25 percent and the UK down by 55 percent.
Greece’s upward trends is backed mainly by demand from Germany: almost 800,000 seats have been booked in August, up by 25 percent compared to 2019. Other key source markets include Switzerland with flight capacity up by 26 percent and France up by 31 percent over August 2019.
According to analysts, Greece’s clear message in May that it would be opening to tourists and accepting all visitors vaccinated or not has paid off.
International airline capacity to Greece marked a sharp improvement in the past few months, with August 2021 levels reaching 2.3 percent over August 2019 to nearly 4 million seats.
The news comes on the back of a National Bank of Greece (NBG) study released earlier this month which found that arrivals in June 2021 recovered one-third of pre-Covid-19 2019 levels against 3 percent in June 2020.
NBG analysts said July 2021 had also gained back two-thirds of pre-pandemic 2019 arrival figures against 29 percent in the same month in 2020.
According to the analysts, the findings are “encouraging” and that based on current data, the country’s tourism sector in 2021 should be able to recover up to 50 percent of pre-Covid 2019 levels.
Last week, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) also found that air traffic to Greece was approaching 2019 pre-Covid-19 levels with Greece moving up in terms of scheduled flights.