Greece is preparing to open its tourism this year earlier than ever, with signs pointing to a double-digit increase in bookings from abroad, up to 30% for the summer 2022 season.
And while it is still too early to estimate this year’s tourist receipts, the budget of 15 billion euros planned by the financial services for this year now seems rather… conservative.
Provided, of course, that there is no further inversion of epidemiological data inside and outside Greece.
In fact, Greek tourism has all the momentum to reach the record turnover of 18.2 billion euros in 2019.
These encouraging projections come at a time when Europe as a whole seems more willing to attempt, after 2.5 years, a partial return to normal by gradually lifting restrictions, not only on travel but also on the daily lives of citizens.
The signal that Greece is sending this year to its potential foreign visitors is that the country will be able to open from the beginning of March.
Even though the airlines’ summer itinerary, which carries seven out of ten foreign visitors to the country, with the rest coming by land and sea, is expected to begin in most islands from late March or early April.
The fact that Greece is signaling that they are ready again for the 2022 season creates a positive climate abroad in terms of planning and organisation.
Meanwhile, travel receipts more than doubled in 2021, totaling 10.6 billion euros, up 146.7% on the previous year, but remained at 58.6% of 2019 levels, the Bank of Greece (BoG) announced on Monday.
Specifically, the central bank said that in December 2021, the current account deficit increased by 1.1 billion euros year-on-year and stood at 1.7 billion euros.
A rise in the deficit of the balance of goods is explained by a greater increase in imports than in exports.
Exports increased by 24.1% at current prices (and fell by 1.5% at constant prices), while imports increased by 44.7% at current prices (17.1% at constant prices).
In particular, non-oil exports of goods increased by 21.4% at current prices (10.4% at constant prices) and imports of non-oil goods increased by 33.7% at current prices (25.4% at constant prices).
The services balance surplus doubled, reflecting an improvement in all sub-accounts (travel, transport and other services balances).
Arrivals of non-residents and the corresponding receipts increased strongly (by 294.0% and 406.9% respectively).
In particular, receipts and arrivals stood at 60% and 55%, respectively, of December 2019 levels.
The transport balance surplus increased mainly due to an improvement in the maritime transport balance surplus.
The surplus in the primary income account has declined year on year, due to lower interest, dividends and profit receipts.
The surplus in the secondary income account increased year-on-year, mainly due to the increase in net general government revenue.
In 2021, the current account deficit decreased by 356.6 million euros over one year and stood at 10.6 billion.
A rise in the deficit of the balance of goods is due to the fact that imports have increased more than exports.
In particular, exports increased by 35.2% at current prices (12.7% at constant prices) and imports increased by 36.4% at current prices (13.6% at constant prices).
More specifically, exports and imports of non-oil goods increased by 26.9% and 27.7% respectively (20.2% and 24.2% at constant prices).
An increase in the services surplus is almost exclusively attributable to an improvement in the travel services balance; however, this was partly offset by a decline in the transport balance surplus.
Non-resident arrivals increased by 99.4% and corresponding receipts by 146.7% year-on-year, corresponding to 46.9% and 58.6% of the respective 2019 levels.
Net transportation receipts decreased by 6.0%.
The capital account surplus decreased year-on-year to €431.5 million.
In 2021, the capital account surplus increased significantly year-on-year and stood at €4.0 billion.
In December 2021, under direct investment, residents’ foreign assets increased by €287.2 million and residents’ foreign liabilities by €530.5 million.
In terms of portfolio investment, the increase in residents’ foreign assets is explained by an increase of 4.0 billion euros in residents’ assets in foreign bonds and Treasury bills.
Under direct investment, residents’ foreign assets increased by €992.9 million and residents’ foreign liabilities, which represent direct investment by non-residents in Greece, increased by €5.1 billion. .
In terms of portfolio investment, the increase in residents’ foreign assets is mainly due to an increase of 24.2 billion euros.
At the end of 2021, Greece’s reserve assets stood at €12.8 billion.
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