Greek tourism hit hard by cancellations amid coronavirus outbreak

The effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus are not just about those who have caught it. The outbreak has had significant knock-on effects on the Chinese economy, as well as the tourism industry worldwide. In Greece, about 200,000 tourists arrived in 2019 and at least 250,000 were expected this year, SIA reports.

The island of Santorini is a beloved destination for many Chinese tourists. But since the outbreak, scores are simply not showing up. The rate may be small, but it is critical, as Chinese tourists travel in low demand times (especially in winter, when they have New Year's holidays). Also, Chinese people spend more on their holidays than average tourists spend in Europe. Of the Chinese tourists coming to Greece, 90% end up in Santorini.

Airlines have cut routes to Santorini, causing problems for islanders and business people. Local agents estimate that they will lose 10% of this year's tourism revenue, which has a knock-on effect on the entire local economy: trade, transport, services. Hoteliers in Greece have asked the Greek government for help to cover their losses.

In Italy, the most popular European destination for Chinese tourists, reservations have fallen sharply Italy's national hotel association has warned the cancellations could destabilise the country's already weak economy. Venice's hoteliers president warned that a protracted crisis could cost up to €4.5 billion.

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