By Philip Chrysopoulos
One in two Greek citizens cannot afford even one week of vacation this summer due to the recession caused by the coronavirus and the repercussions of the 10-year-long economic crisis, as the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data shows.
Along with the fear of contacting the coronavirus, one in two Greeks do not have the financial means to go on vacation to a place other than their family’s summer home — if they are lucky enough to have one.
Adding to the financial hardships caused by the pandemic, the Eurostat figures conclude that family budgets in Greece have shrunk during the economic crisis and have not rebounded to their pre-crisis levels.
Overall, Greeks have been forced to revise their goals and priorities, with a week’s vacation for half of them a luxury they can no longer afford.
According to Eurostat data, in 2019 — before the cataclysmic coronavirus pandemic hammered the globe — 49 percent of Greeks said that they simply could not afford the cost of taking take a week’s vacation.
This is the second-lowest household budget in the European Union, over only Romania, where the respective percentage is 54. The EU average for the number of families in a nation that cannot afford a week’s vacation is 29 percent.
These percentages – at least according to Eurostat – will continue to be high during 2020 due to the across-the-board restrictions imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus.
In addition, ELSTAT data shows that in 2019, domestic travel in Greece actually dropped by 6.8 percent. Naturally, this decrease is expected to be much higher in 2020.
Additionally, 58 percent of trips made by Greeks last year were made to non-rental accommodation, mainly privately-owned holiday homes and accommodation provided free of charge by relatives and friends. These trips account for 77 percent of the total number of overnight stays by Greek citizens.
Another somewhat surprising statistic is that last year, travel to hotels and other rented accommodations decreased by 7.9 percent and the corresponding overnight stays dropped by 11 percent compared to 2018.