According to data from Global Blue, Greece, this summer, achieved a strong recovery and managed to become one of the most attractive destinations for international travelers. The recovery was unprecedented, reaching 77% in turnover for the period June-September 2021 compared to the corresponding period of 2019.
The rest of the European destinations – even the most popular (France, Italy, Spain) – failed to keep up with the country’s rapid recovery, moving to an average of 38% .
Travelers from Israel, the Middle East, the US, and Russia boosted turnover and average shopping spending to 132% compared to 2019. The total absence of the Chinese from the market is due to travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
Market value by region
In terms of the value of markets by region, the region of Attica maintains the lion’s share with a high percentage of 49%, while the second place is occupied by Mykonos with 28%, constantly gaining ground. The region of Macedonia “holds” firmly the third place with a percentage of 12%. This year, Mykonos managed to “return” to the levels of 2019 with a recovery rate of 104% in market value, while Santorini managed to double the average expenditure (216%).
While 7 out of 10 international travelers shopped in clothing and footwear, travelers who chose to shop in the jewelry/watch category doubled the average cost (204%).
British Travelers – A dominant market in tax-free shopping in the coming years
Buyers from the United Kingdom – a new nationality of Tax-Free markets from 1 January 2021 – have made a significant contribution to boosting the recovery in Greece, already the fourth largest nationality in terms of market value and holding a 5% share. In fact, the British will be a strong tax-free shopping nationality in the future as they are the second-largest inbound tourism market in Greece with 3.8  million visitors in 2019. In terms of average spending, British travelers spend twice as much (€ 1,028) as the average traveler (€ 522) visiting the country and at the expense of American travelers (€ 1221).
Particularly interesting are the consumer preferences of British buyers with 4 out of 10 buying watches and jewelry.
Higher recovery expectations appear for next year as well
The Greek Tax Free Shopping market, despite the challenges of the pandemic, shows even more positive expectations for 2022.
According to an international survey conducted by Global Blue, 70% of respondents (September – October) expressed their willingness to travel – provided there will be no quarantine conditions – compared to 62% in July – August. The rate rises to 76% for elite  travelers and for those who travel frequently abroad .
Also, according to ForwardKeys, an international company for analysis and research of travel data (flights, availability of airline seats, and reservations), tourist flows to Greece may double compared to last summer.
Global Blue continues to lead the way in providing high value-added services to every marketer
Global Blue, the world’s largest VAT refund provider, continues to lead the way in providing high value-added services to retailers with the goal of providing the fastest and highest quality international traveler service through the digitization of tax-free shopping processes.
As early as 2018, Global Blue Hellas is in constant communication with the Greek tax authorities, with the aim of accelerating the process of digital validation of ALPs by customs. The digitization of the ratification process will bring multiple benefits both in the faster service of tourists in the tax refund process, as well as in dealing with issues of opacity and fraud.
Global Blue, a leading technology provider, has been providing high value-added issuing solutions to every marketer for over a decade. Solutions that adapt to the software system of the dealer (integration solutions), applications for mobile devices but also for Web environment or even POS machines (terminals) for the smallest companies.
At the same time, it has refund points throughout the Greek Territory serving travelers from the most remote places to the most touristic.
As a result of good cooperation with the tax authorities, but also responding to the requests of traders to facilitate Tax-Free sales and sending this data to the new myDATA platform, Global Blue plans to create an automated online receipt interface with the myDATA platform , so that the sale of Tax-Free goods is now a fully automatic digital process.
Mr. Manthos Dimopoulos, CEO of Global Blue stated:
“Based on the data of this year’s four-month peak (June – September 2021), Greece competed worthily with the major European countries and was one of the most attractive destinations in the world. What is now becoming an urgent need, in order to better serve travelers and improve the image of our country internationally, is the digitization of ratification procedures. As of 2019, Global Blue is in constant contact with AADE, for the free installation of a national digital validation system so that travelers can be served by the customs authorities immediately and without delays “.
 Global Blue Intelligence, June-September 2021, comparison with the corresponding period of 2019
 Fraport & AIA, 2019
 Elite: International buyers who have been spending more than € 40,000 in the last 24 months
 Frequent: International buyers who have made at least 3 trips in the last 24 months
With information from: https://www.tornosnews.gr/news/agores/54134-global-blue-h-ellada-proth-se-anakampsh-sthn-eyroph-sthn-agora-tax-free-shopping.html