The cost of air tickets, the recession in Germany and the general course of interest rates and inflation in large markets for Greece, the “slack” course of bookings for expensive accommodation in mature destinations, such as Mykonos and Crete, but also the fixed, the last years, weakness for a more dynamic start of the season pose “spikes” of concern in view of the arrival of summer for Greek tourism.
Another parameter, which is problematic as it did not give “momentum” in May, which is a month necessary to provide “fuel” for the continuation, is the weather. Despite this, the general indications are positive, based on what market factors report, who point out that again this year last-minute bookings, as well as the course of Athens’ tourism, will set the tone.
Again, of course, seasonality will be the rule. As can be seen, the third quarter of the year is expected to be the “flagship” for exceeding the goals set with the main stake, of course, being revenue. Of course, the carrying capacity of the destinations, as well as the data from the flights, which move approximately at last year’s levels, do not give “room” for estimates of a jump in receipts, especially if they also enter a “cressary” of deflated prices.
Peak season flights
It should be noted that based on the Air Data Tracker, INSETE’s digital hub for data analysis of incoming international flights, the total available air seats for the summer season (27/3 – 29/10) amounts to almost 25 million, with +2.2% increase compared to the corresponding period last year.
However, this increase mainly comes from an increase in the second quarter of the year (Q2) (+16.1% in April, +8.1% in May and +4.5% in June), while in the third quarter ( Q3) marginal decreases are observed (-0.3% in July, -0.7% in August and -0.3% in September) and in October a decrease of -4%.
And of course, it will be noted here that for this year, the growth “driver” for the domestic tourism market is the summer itinerary of AEGEAN, which is the largest in its history this year. Specifically, AEGEAN, in 2023, will operate with 76 planes and offer a total of 18 million seats. 11 million of them are foreign seats, 2 million more compared to 2022 and 800 thousand more than 2019. In particular, AEGEAN will operate in 46 countries, with 264 routes to 161 destinations from 8 bases, something particularly important for Greek tourism, which sees with intense interest what is developing in the aviation sector with the difficulty of even large companies to “lift” planes, due to shortages in personnel or in general in the supply chain.
Also important is the development of the flying project of Sky express, which with a new fleet thickens connections by “marrying” them with its extensive internal network.
The price parameter
However, with the data on transport and the capacity of flights and air transport, the weight falls on the prices and how high they can go, alongside the occupancy at the “edges” of the season and in its “heart”, it’s pretty much predetermined what will happen.
As market players have pointed out, international brands named in Greece have “raised” the bar and have surpassed corresponding returns in other competitive markets, which leads to an intensity of demand for new “arrivals” of large chains, especially in areas such as Athens, but also Crete. Contacts with the big ones (Accor, Mariott) are already being made, based on information, in Rethymno, Chania and Athens, while the first Mandarin Oriental hotel in Athens has been announced in Elliniko, while One & Only Aesthesis, which is being developed in place of the iconic “Asterion” in Glyfada by Grivalia Hospitality. Thus, the trend is strengthened as hotels from international chains in Athens have taken the lead in prices from their counterparts in cities such as Madrid, Lisbon, Prague, etc.
Also, in relation to the “stock market” in more widespread accommodation, nationwide there is an average increase against Tour operators of the order of 11% on average for this year, while of course in the luxury category the increases are even higher, especially in famous areas .
That’s why the “retention” in May, but also in general in the demand for expensive villas, etc. e.g. in Mykonos and Crete, (this does not allow, as mentioned, further “stinging” of prices) in combination with the pronounced inflation (as mentioned, more than 1000 new entries are recorded on the platforms Booking, airbnb, etc. in Crete) has brought a relative anxious for the sequel.
However, on Friday during the handover ceremony
which took place on Friday (26/05) at the Ministry of Tourism, the outgoing Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias in his statements emphasized that the country’s reputation and image abroad was stronger than ever, while he gave a brief account of what has happened since September 2021 , where he assumed the ministry. “We achieved the biggest tourism recovery in the EU.” emphasized, while on her part the acting Minister of Tourism Ms. Ioanna Dretta, noted “that Greek tourism, which essentially supports the Greek economy and society, in the last 10 years, was disrupted during the covid years, but stood on its feet and is today at the top of the global tourism market’s interest. It faces challenges, but it also has many opportunities, so that the next day it can even more dynamically support society, the national economy and local economies in the destinations. This requires a lot of work from the Central Government, Local Government and the Private Sector. My role is to contribute to a smooth transition from the previous to the next Government”.
The outgoing Deputy Minister of Tourism, Sofia Zaharakis, emphasized in statements that “the restart in tourism was done in a way that was truly an example for other countries to emulate. And all this constitutes an excellent basis for this year’s tourist success”.
The Air Data Tracker
In the meantime, INSETE offers a useful “tool” that offers the ability to dynamically monitor the scheduling of airline seats and the evolution of airline seat reservations on incoming international flights. The reason for Air Data Tracker, INSETE’s digital hub for data analysis of incoming international flights.
It is a freely accessible tool that gathers, processes and visualizes data on the evolution of airline seat planning and airline seat reservations on 9 screens with a one stop shop search. Flight schedule information will be updated weekly and flight reservation information monthly. It is noted that all data comes from OAG and covers ~75% of all airline seats, while seats on pure charter flights and some low cost carriers are not covered.
In terms of air seat planning, the analysis includes the seat distribution by month, by week, by airport and by country of origin, as well as comparisons with the corresponding data of 2022.
According to the latest data available (22/5/23):
– Despite the increase in Q2, seasonality remains high with 53.7% of airline seats available in Q3.
– In the main markets there is an increase from the UK (+3.6%) and the USA (+1.4%), while a decrease in available air seats is observed from Germany (-14.9%) – which can partly be to be attributed to base effect, i.e. reduction of overcapacity observed last year, France (-8.3%), Italy (-2.5%), the Netherlands (-1.5%).
– As we approach the peak of the season, the air seats offered increase every week (from 662k the previous week to 815k the following week and 872k the week after).
Regarding air seat reservations on international incoming flights, the analysis includes the changes in relation to 2022, both for Greece and for the competing countries: Spain, Portugal, Italy. The changes in bookings to Greece per month, per market and for the main airports are also presented.
According to the latest available data, i.e. the change in active air seat bookings at the end of April:
– Significant growth is seen in almost all major markets (from +34.3% in the US to +117% in Italy). A decrease is observed only in France (-5.7%) and the United Kingdom (-7.5%).
– Also, this increase for the whole country amounts to +36.1% and falls short of the corresponding one for Italy (+50%), while it is higher than that for Spain (+28.9%) and Portugal ( +29.8%). It should be taken into account that last April there was a strong fear of the development of a pandemic and bookings were reduced compared to the “normal” levels for the time.
As Greek tourism has already recovered, the Air Data Tracker is an evolution of the Recovery Tracker that was created with the aim of monitoring the return of Greek tourism to pre-pandemic levels. It is noted that the creation of Business Intelligence tools is part of the Institute’s systematic investment in digital tools and the utilization of data to make informed decisions.
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