The first month since Greece has opened its borders to international tourism is behind us. As predicted earlier, July, especially in the first part, was characterized by very little interest from tourists. Many people canceled scheduled vacations, some made last-minute decisions, and there were few new bookings. Somewhat more hopes were placed on domestic tourism and on changes following the opening of the borders to key Greek customers. Unfortunately, however, these predictions were not reflected in the actual decisions made by tourists. According to the president of the Association of Greek Hoteliers, this year's revenues will reach a maximum of EUR 3 billion, which, compared to the 18 billion earned in 2019, seems to be a small drop in the ocean of such anticipated revenues.
Due to the specific nature of the situation, the hotel industry is facing an unprecedented pandemic crisis. In the country as a whole, the occupancy rate for seasonal hotels currently stands at an average of 25%, and for hotels operating all year round, even weaker, even single-digit results are recorded. The data was collected from 500 hotels across Greece, monitoring KPIs weekly. As you can imagine, low occupancy causes low revenues. At present, only various types of financial liabilities are increasing. Many hotels will have big problems with achieving even zero profitability. As a consequence, some facilities, especially those without own capital, will certainly change owners. There are more and more offers for the sale of hotel units in the real estate market, especially in islands.
Even though everyone expected poor results in July, they placed higher hopes in August and in extending the tourist season until October. Unfortunately, at the moment it is not possible to make even preliminary estimates for the coming months. Epidemiological data change day by day, and it is them that determine what decisions will be made by hoteliers and their customers. Of course, this is not only about data on Greece, but above all about the epidemiological situation in the countries from which tourists travel. This uncertain and volatile situation makes it impossible to rely on any indicators or trends.
In addition to epidemiological data, an additional issue directly or indirectly influencing tourists' choices is the legal regulations concerning the prevention of new diseases introduced by Greece. Tightening the criteria for activities such as the need to perform tests before crossing the border with Greece or selective tests at the borders may discourage those who are afraid of additional costs, quarantine or even a reduced standard of rest to which they are used to. On the other extreme, there is the suspension of connections between Greece and countries where more coronavirus cases are re-emerging. In this case, those who would even like to visit Greece have to comply with the restrictions. This season will be by far the most difficult season that the Greek tourism industry has had to deal with.