While at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) believed that there could be a drop in international tourism arrivals from 1% to 3%, recently the same agency has warned that this drop could range from 20% to 30% in 2020, due to the same reason.
The UN Special Agency in Madrid estimates a decline in international tourism receipts of between US$300-450 billion ( EUR 272-408), almost one-third of the US$ 1.5 trillion generated in 2019. According to the Agency, this is due to “the unparalleled introduction of travel restrictions across the world.” Although the WTO underlines that these numbers should be interpreted “with caution in view of the extreme uncertain nature of the current crisis.” According to UNWTO forecasts, based on previous experiences with similar crises, the last major economic crisis has caused a 4% recession in the tourism sector.
Greek Tourism Minister, Mr. Harry Theoharis, took part in the virtual meeting of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee that was recently launched by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) dedicated to the discussion of the coronavirus impact on tourism.
During the virtual conference Healing Solutions for Tourism – Innovation Challenge program was announced. In `more detail, this initiative invites all businesses across the world to come up with a solution that will mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 expansion, in order to support 3 key categories: businesses, travelers, and local authorities. The text of the proposed measures for the international tourism industry has been widely discussed and is expected to be published in April.
Alexandros Angelopoulos, the executive director of the Aldemar Resorts Group (a hotel chain in Crete), speaking in a news agency has mentioned: “April will be quite difficult for the tourism industry, however, at the moment it is very hard to make any predictions. It’s necessary to wait until the end of May to understand how the 2020 season will develop”.
Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies (HATTA) President, Mr. Nikos Kelaiditis, has underlined that the main goal is to minimize the losses. He has also noted that we will have to wait until the very last moment to see how the reservations in the tourist industry will go.
However, tourism experts continue to hope and think positively.
“The sun and the sea always bring the ray of optimism”,- Mr. Angelopoulos notes,- even in hard times, the sun can give you something to hope for. When the crisis ends, people’s natural reaction will be to go out, to take a trip, and try to return to the before-crisis way of life. Consumption will definitely increase. This is Greece. If we can’t do it, no one can!”
“The most important thing right now is to calm down and adapt to the new reality,- says Mr. Tsilidis,- tourism has survived the most difficult decade and has demonstrated its sustainability. We will recover from the crisis. ”
Thus, there is no unified opinion as regards how the season 2020 will go. Everything depends on how quickly the coronavirus will spread, both in Greece and globally. However, the tourism sector is not discouraged and is doing everything possible to withstand these difficult conditions.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Greece attracted as much as 33 visitors in 2018. Not only do mild Mediterranean climate, rich history, and azure sea attract tourists from all over the world, but also many foreign investors. Every year there is a growing tendency in the numbers of investments in the hotel business, in real estate property, and obtaining a residence permit. The situation with coronavirus creates new possibilities and directions. DKG Development Company can help to examine all the current developments and to seize the opportunity.