Tourism: Summer is here – but not as we may know it

The summer holiday for many people is a “rite” as opposed to being an option.

There are times, of course, in life when each of us has to forgo this annual event but that makes us only more determined to enjoy the following years holidays even more.

Now that society, in the past few months, appears to have been educated to think in a totally different manner, just how much the human mind and human desire has been changed irrevocably may be measured in how many people demand their two weeks in the sun, or whatever form of annual relaxation they prefer.

Another question that comes into the remit is whether summer tourism (or indeed any tourism) is now top of the pile as an economic tool of necessity for governments reliant on tourism to provide a chunk of the annual GDP.

Cutting out the ifs and buts which, by the time this is read anyway may have changed, much of Europe seems to be following the same manicured script in what they do, when they do it and how they do it.

Of course, there is the odd variation, but this is akin to whether you like salt on your food or not; it doesn’t alter the core of the meal you are getting.

The first and the 15th of each month seem to be the yardstick from which the “next” phase begins.

Thus, applying this in general terms to a here and now situation, June 1 sees the easing of many of the restrictions that the population across Europe face then, on the 15th we will see an even bigger relaxation of restrictions as the ability of more and more – though not all – people to travel as more and more border crossings are opened will take effect.

Then, come July 1, you will see a noticeable increase in flights between countries, these having been slowly started from around mid-June. As of July 1, we will be as near to “as it was” as is possible.

This will mean the annual summer holiday is once again on the radar for most people. We says “most” people, as most will still be able to grab a summer holiday – but maybe not all.

The elephant in the corner for popular holiday destinations like Greece and Spain is the source markets that bring in big numbers of visitors but which are still in the middle of the pandemic i.e. the UK and Russia.

So where do economics fit into all this? Simply, many countries realised that the contribution to the GDP that tourism makes cannot be replicated nor compensated for, this is in both economic and human terms.

Generous handouts to business etc are a popular vote winner from a government perspective, but then reality kicks in, that these have to be paid for, somehow.

When the coronavirus first appeared, we made the comment that if the government could keep the local population within its own borders for summer then that would keep up to a billion euro in the Bulgarian economy that would otherwise be lost to destinations like Greece, Spain and Italy.

While the government bean-counters would appreciate this income, if tourists from Bulgaria are prevented from leaving the country, then likewise tourists from other countries would be prevented from entering!

The loss from this, based on 2019 figures, would be 3.7 billion euro in lost tourism income. The same thinking would no doubt apply to those making tourism decisions in other popular summer destinations, hence the July 1 date for the “re-opening” of the summer tourism industry as governments across Europe engage damage limitation mode and try to kick-start their own economies.

(Photo: Stacy Brumley/



Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas is Managing Director of Jamadvice Travel / BCD Bulgaria, one of Bulgaria’s leading Travel Management Companies with 28 years market leading presence on the Bulgarian market.