ATHENS – After the almost two-year-long COVID-19 pandemic limited international air travel and dried up demand for short-term rentals, platforms such as Airbnb are showing a comeback in Greece.
A report by AirDNA, which specializes in the analysis of data from the Airbnb and Vrbo platforms showed that interest in renting in 2021 came as the country opened to tourists who were vaccinated or not infected.
Demand rose 40.7 percent over 2020 when the pandemic struck and almost paralyzed world travel and saw countries barring or limiting who could enter, leaving owners of short-term rentals holding the short straw.
The short-term rentals before that were criticized by some for changing the character of neighborhoods because of replacing residents with transient travelers staying only a few days or weeks.
It also pushed up rents across Athens, especially in popular tourist areas where it became difficult to find a long-term rental and displaced long-term residents to other areas.
Demand for Greece is now the highest in Europe in terms of growth, said Kathimerini, followed by Russia, Croatis, France and Spain, while across the region it rose 18.4 percent, less than half that in Greece.
Greece also recorded the biggest growth in December 2021 – normally a dead period for tourists – but with the number of overnight stays jumping 53.5 percent compared to the same month a year earlier.
That was seen as showing that Greece’s campaign to make the country a year-round destination was paying some dividends although mountain resort areas said their business wasn’t as good as expected.
AirDNA data show that guests both from Greece and abroad still prefer homes and apartments over hotels, feeling safer during the pandemic than being in a place with a high number of guests.
But there was caution about the comparison of numbers because of how bad 2020 was because the figures compared to 2019 were down 24.2 percent, a marked difference.
The onset of the Omicron Variant saw tourism fall back later in the fall and into the start of winter in Greece, along with limitations on who can enter the country but there was at least a partial rebound for the period.