Greece’s central bank said recently that the country can achieve pre-pandemic 2019 tourism levels in 2022 provided the sector diversifies its product and attracts more investments.

According to the Bank of Greece (BoG) Interim Report on Monetary Policy, “tourism industry performance in 2021 creates favorable expectations for travel flows and related revenues for the next year, during which performance is expected to be around 2019 levels”.

BoG analysts are forecasting a growth rate of 5.0 percent in 2022 and 3.9 percent in 2023, subject to continued strong support from international tourism, euro area recovery, and an acceleration of investment.

The interim report based its assessment on tourism performance in 2021 which exceeded expectations and managed to cover to a great extent losses in the sector incurred by Covid-19.

Indicatively, travel receipts rose to 10.2 billion euros in the January-October 2021 period and arrivals reached 13,763 thousand with the dynamic coming to halt in December due to the onset of the Omicron variant.

Photo source: South Aegean Tourism Initiative

BoG analysts are expecting tourism revenue to continue its positive trend into 2022 and 2023 bolstering the Greek economy and growth. The report also refers to the sector’s key role as a driver of the economy due to the significant investments in the pipeline.

The interim report notes that though assessments claim Greece should minimize its dependence on tourism to avoid future fluctuations in export earnings, this empirical analysis cannot be confirmed. Instead, the BoG cites the pandemic as cause for the significant drop in receipts.

The report’s analysts stress however that Greece must diversify its tourism product, including developing thematic tourism options and penetrating new markets. It also must create new export products to stabilize revenues.

In terms of competitiveness, Greece has managed to maintain its position on the Mediterranean market compared to other rival destinations, securing fourth spot after Spain, Italy and Turkey. The country has also managed to increase its share in overall revenue and arrivals in the region compared to pre-pandemic 2019.