Association of Greek Tourist Companies ( INSETE ) has prepared a very interesting study discussing the impact of the tourism industry on the Greek economy in 2018. This is another document that is a direct confirmation that the tourism industry is the most important sector of the Greek economy. And although we have written about this fact on our website more than once, we always gladly read this type of economic data.
At the outset, it is worth mentioning that, according to estimates made by the INSETE organization, companies operating directly in the tourism sector generated almost 12% of Greece's total GDP last year. It is even more impressive if the ranking includes the revenues of companies indirectly connected with tourist traffic. In this case, the value of revenues depending on the estimates ranges from about 25% to over 30% of Greece's GDP.
In terms of amounts, the direct participation of the tourism industry in Greek GDP in 2018 amounted to approximately EUR 21.6 billion. This value is definitely higher than in previous periods. In 2017, this value was equal to approximately EUR 19 billion, while a year earlier in 2016 it amounted to approximately EUR 17.7 billion. This means that over the last three years, the tourism industry's revenues have increased by nearly € 4 billion.
These dependencies are even stronger in the case of typical tourist regions of Greece. In particular, this applies to the islands of the South Aegean region, where the share of tourism in GDP reaches about 97% of its GDP. An equally strong impact of tourism on the local economy is recorded in the Ionian Islands and Crete, where these shares account for 71% and nearly 50% of the total GDP of these regions, respectively. At this point it is worth emphasizing that these regions are characterized by the highest GDP values per one inhabitant. According to the INSETE report, tourism is one of the most important factors affecting the improvement of the level of local residents.
The calculations carried out by INSETE clearly show that every 1 € of revenue recorded by a tourist industry company is equivalent to an additional revenue of about 1.5 € recorded by companies operating in other sectors. This only shows that tourism is a sector with a very large diversity of benefits for the local economy.
An extremely important factor is also the fact that approximately 90% of these revenues are money flowing from outside Greece. This is an extremely favorable situation that has a positive effect on balancing the negative trade balance.
At the peak of the tourist season, about 411 thousand people are employed in various catering establishments and in boarding houses and hotels. employees. This represents approximately 16.7% of all professionally active people in Greece. In a broader perspective, the number of all employees who are directly or indirectly connected with the tourism industry constitute from about 37 to 44% of the local labor market.
Currently, tourism is the most important industry affecting the reduction of unemployment in Greece. Quite a large investment activity, amounting to EUR 5 billion last year in this sector of the economy, gives hope for a large number of new jobs. More importantly, many of them are a chance to work for a group of people particularly at risk of unemployment (women and young people entering the labor market).
Looking at these optimistic economic data, one can not forget that the tourism industry is a very specific sector of the economy, whose economic situation is difficult to predict and depends on many factors. This is perfectly demonstrated by the example of seasonality, with which Greece has been trying to fight for many years. Various types of activities and promotional campaigns bring relatively small benefits. Last year, around 72.5% of the total revenues of the tourism industry in Greece were recorded in the period from June to September.
The interest of tourists in particular countries is also constantly fluctuating. Each of the popular holiday destinations is characterized by specific growth cycles and a decrease in the number of visitors. The current geopolitical and economic events that have a direct impact on consumer decisions also have an additional share in these changes.
Such a strong dependence of Greece on the inflows from a single sector of the economy is certainly a disadvantageous factor. It is not without reason that in common language people say that someone is the victim of their own success. We hope that Greece focused on the development of mainly mass tourism will not go in the direction of such disastrous solutions as the heavily urbanized coasts of Spain. In our opinion, it would be a kind of negation of blissful Greek holidays.