If you are a bit confused about the situation with regard to traveling to Greece, you are not alone. Mixed messages flood the media these days. Tourism ministers claim the industry is rebounding and that it will buoy the Greek economy. In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is begging Greece’s Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to quarantine British tourists on arrival in the EU, in order to stem the spread of the Delta variant. And the Bank of Greece says all this uncertainty may bog down the economy.
At the Delphi Forum this week, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis told attendees said tourism can be the “doctor of the economy”. Citing the efficient use of Recovery Fund resources as a kind of cure-all for this economic miracle to come, the New Democracy politician claimed that maintaining a healthy balance between safety, freedom of movement and the open market is what’s needed in the face of dangers from Delta variant and others to come.
Apparently, Greece’s chief executive is not listening to Angela Merkel on defending Greeks against the more dangerous coronavirus mutations. Merkel says all arrivals from the UK should be quarantined, but the Greek leadership steams full speed ahead, apparently determined to let the world in, no matter what. The Athens politicians have even started paying young people to get vaccinated, which is a good thing because the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says Delta will spread like wildfire among young people this season.
Fortunately, many of the top attractions seem to be getting fewer tourists so far. Despite reports that hot spots like Mykonos are booming, the imagery (Instagram above from 1 minute ago) from the party destination don’t jibe with the narrative. For all intents, Greece’s party destination has a fraction of the tourists the island normally gets. Balos Lagoon, for instance, seems relatively deserted if Instagram shares from there reveal a truth. Nightmare travel revelations like this one, are also a double-edged sword. If Delta is as deadly as they say, it’s good Americans may opt for the Caribbean. Then again, the maze of uncertainty this couple experienced will be a horrid case if vaccines catch up soon.
Finally, the Bank of Greece the economy is showing signs of recovery but uncertainty due to emerging Covid-19 virus mutations and their potential impact on tourism pose a risk. No kidding! A return to solid growth, says BoG, depends on containing the pandemic, reopening all activities, and lifting travel restrictions so that tourism activity can gather speed. How’s that for cementing certainty over whether or not the 2021 “all-out” tourism effort is a good idea or not?
The ECDC’s just published data showing that 33.9% of adults in the EU/EEA are fully vaccinated, and 57.1% have had at least a single dose. Unfortunately for those among us who have received either a single dose or no immunization, the doctors say we are in danger of being infected by the more transmissible strain. The Delta variant will make up over 90% of all cases by the end of August, according to the experts.
At the end of the day, vacationers may have to rely on their best hunch as to whether or not to fly to Greece this summer.