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Economy

Greece Post COVID-19 Pandemic Tourism Recovery 2-3 Years Off

ATHENS – Hoping for a big bump when tourists with vaccinations or free of COVID-19 will be allowed in starting May 14, Greece's comeback for tourism could take until 2024 for a full recovery.

That was the finding in a market research and opinion poll taken by agency Metron Analysis for hospitality company DHR Services which indicated just how much the Coronavirus has taken out of the economy and tourism.

Visitors bring in as much as 18-20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 165.97 billion euros ($200.3 billion) and is the biggest employer, the pandemic breaking a record run of years.

It will take even longer for business trips and conventions to take hold with international air travel only now starting a slow recovery and the pandemic ironically seeing many companies moving to remote work and fewer trips.

At the same time there are encouraging signs, with major hotel chains and luxury resorts already building in Greece and on the islands and planning to e in position for a post-pandemic potential boom when people are crazy to travel.

Most respondents agreed this summer will still be a down period for tourism but  better than 2020 when it ground almost to a halt, air traffic stymied and people too afraid to fly, and cruise liners sidelined.

Only 5 percent believe demand will recover to pre-pandemic levels within sixth months while 21 percent think a recovery for tourism will happen in 2022, 21 percent by 2023 and 5 percent past that.

Flexible cancellation policies could provide an incentive for people who otherwise won't want to travel in worry they won't be able to and then couldn't get their money back or make alternate arrangements.

Hotels have added extra layers of health protection with disinfection and many offer outdoor dining areas as well, with inside eating forbidden for now but possibly being allowed in May.

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