BMI's Greece tourism report looks at a range of market indicators in this well-established and popular tourist destination. Inbound arrivals are expected to increase throughout our forecast period, and we also forecast limited growth in terms of outbound departures. Overall, therefore, we expect to see Greece make solid gains in industry value and tourism-related expenditure by 2018.
The inbound tourism market is dominated by countries from within Europe; as such, the growth in inbound travel is largely dependent on the continuing recovery from the credit crunch, with any return to recession likely to impact heavily on the number of annual arrivals. Greece is generally perceived as an affordable holiday destination in comparison with other European countries, and as such, the market generally remains buoyant. By 2018, therefore, we expect that annual inbound arrivals will reach just under 20mn, a substantial increase on the forecast 2014 arrivals figure of 16.5mn.
Outbound travel represents a much smaller market. The struggling domestic economy, with high unemployment and only minor forecast growth, means we expect the number of outbound travellers to decline in 2014 and 2015, and show only limited growth thereafter. By 2018, outbound travel is expected to reach 3.9mn, only slightly up on the forecast 2014 figure of 3.8mn. As with inbound arrivals, outbound travel is also dominated by countries in Europe, with nearby and affordable Turkey and Bulgaria expected to remain the most popular destinations.
Despite the poor domestic economy, Greece is well placed to take advantage of the expected growth in inbound travel. The country has a well developed transport infrastructure with extensive road, air and rail connections. While a great deal of improvement work took place when Greece hosted the 2004 summer Olympics, Greece will soon need to start upgrade works.
The hotel sector in Greece remains lively, despite domestic economic conditions, and we expect to see a few more hotels opened in the country by 2018, supported by growth in arrivals.
Key forecasts and developments include:
- Hotel groups continue to expand their presence in Greece, with Carlson Rezidor due to open a new hotel on the island of Crete in 2016, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts set to open the W Athens Astir Palace Beach, a luxury property in Athens, in 2016. Other chains are also expanding into the market, with Spanish hotel chain Barcelo Hotels & Resorts entering into a management contract to operate the fivestar Hydra Beach resort near Ermioni in early 2013.
- Given Greece's continued economic difficulties, outbound air traffic flows look set to remain subdued over our forecast period to 2018, with the number of air transport passengers carried rising from 8.1mn in 2014 to just 8.5mn in 2018.
- Inbound travel is set to increase from 15.8mn in 2013 to 19.9mn in 2018, helping to offset the limited growth in outbound travel.
- Although Greece scores fairly well on some measures in BMI's proprietary Tourism Risk/Reward ratings for Western Europe, its high levels of political risk, bureaucracy and corruption outweigh these positives. This has resulted in BMI maintaining Greece's overall Tourism Industry Risk/Reward rating at 49.70 this quarter, keeping it in second to last position in the Western European region, behind Italy and ahead of only Malta.