Friday, 7 November 2014

What's next for Greek tourism

It is no secret that the apparent bottoming of Greece’s economy can be attributed solely to tourism. Hence, the million dollars question is what does the future hold for the sector and if its contribution will remain positive and that significant.

One, tourism-related, data-point that isn’t getting much attention lately is the prices trajectory for tourism-related services.

source: Eurostat

As you can see in the chart above, prices have almost stopped falling. How will it affect demand if prices start rising? I think the next chart could be interesting in that respect.

source: Bank of Greece, Eurostat, own calculations

The key takeaway if you ask me is that causality has changed. In the pre-crisis years featured in the chart, prices’ rise slowed when demand slowed. In the crisis years I think that demand rose when prices plummeted. One more fact for us to chew on is that during 2014, when prices fall decelerated, growth in demand also decelerated. Of course, the sector’s exports cannot keep growing with the same rate as they did in 2013 when the base effect was also at work. Also the slowdown evident in Europe could be having an effect here as well as a number of other factors.

To wrap this up, the question the answer to which Greece’s tourism sector is pondering right now is, what happens if prices in tourism-related services start rising (and they eventually will). I won’t get into the whole “the sector needs investments to improve the quality of services offered etc.” tirade since you’ve probably read the same points a million times already. Let’s wait and see what the future holds for the sector and since the sector is at present the sole driver of the Greek economy, for us as well.