Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/03/2012 -- The Greece Tourism Report considers the prospects for the tourism sector over the longer term but focuses heavily on major short-term issues affecting the sector. Last year witnessed a strong rebound for inbound tourism to Greece, despite strikes and protests against government austerity measures (eroding Greece's risk profile). Reports that prices in the hospitality sector in important tourist locations have fallen sharply - an effective internal devaluation - represent one underlying issue behind this uptick in inbound tourism. Political unrest in North Africa provides another reason, as it has resulted in a shift in tourism demand, providing a short-term boost to Greek tourism. Despite this, BMI believes that a marked slowdown in the eurozone - the key source region - will dampen prospects for Greek tourism in 2012. A full-blown economic depression in Greece will also ensure domestic tourism remains extremely weak.
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Using official data on the number of foreign visitors to Greece, the report also analyses the changing dynamics of major source markets, with Russia, for example, becoming increasingly important in the context of inbound tourism to Greece, though still not rivalling Germany and the Uk, which are two of the most important source markets.
Non-resident arrivals to Greece during 2011 increased by 9.5% year-on-year (y-o-y), a strong pick-up in growth compared 2010. Notably, Germany and the UK, recorded quite divergent growth rates of some 10% and -2.4% y-o-y respectively, while arrivals from France increased a substantial 32%. interestingly, Russia recorded a massive 63.8% y-o-y increase in arrivals. The number of foreign tourists arriving at the largest airports in Q112 make for poor reading, with numbers down by nearly 9% y-o-y.
During the first three quarters of 2011 the hospitality sector saw an increase of just under 7% y-o-y in total nights spent in hotels (and similar establishments). Nights by non-residents (some 79% of the total) rose a healthy 12% y-o-y. In sharp contrast, resident nights fell over 9% y-o-y.
Over the last quarter BMI have revised the following forecasts/views:
- BMI forecasts a slowdown in growth in foreign visitor arrivals to Greece this year (revised down to around 3% from 4% y-o-y previously), with slight recovery expected in 2013 (also edged down to just under 5%).
- For 2013, we have lowered our eurozone growth forecast to 1.0% from 1.2%, but our overall outlook remains the same: the euro area is in for a protracted period of slow, painful internal restructuring characterised by weak economic activity - constraining inbound tourism.
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