On the momentous occasion of Greece’s 200th anniversary of her independence, the world paid tribute to the Greeks. But the world’s opportunists seized on the moment. Isn’t it oh so indicative of the world we live in today, that TUI is absolutely thrilled with the performance of the corporation’s most loyal and innovative partner, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis? After all, who is doing more to ensure that the German tour company’s short-term future?
And what about TUI partner Celebrity Cruises? Doesn’t the momentous announcement on Greece’s independence day that the enormous 130,818-ton passenger liner Celebrity Apex will sail for Greek isles on June 19th speak volumes about what’s important for Greek leadership? I think it does. In my mind, after what we’ve seen from Greece during these trying pandemic lockdown days, the Celebrity announcement sheds a bright light on the tourist marketing of Mitsotakis’ Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis too.
Now the reason to send vaccines to islands to innoculate Greek islanders first, ahead of many thousands of citizens in cities like Athens, Thessaloniki, or Heraklion on Crete becomes more clear. But, what really hammers the nail home here are the comments from stakeholders in this obvious “go for broke” tourism push by the Athens officials. Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, who was on hand at the bicentennial celebrations to express his gratitude to the helpful Greeks:
“This is a very special homecoming for Celebrity Cruises made possible with the strong collaboration of the Greek government. I extend my enduring gratitude and wish them well as they celebrate their country’s bicentennial today.”
I won’t get into the AstraZeneca vaccine fiasco that’s become Greece’s immunization program of late. Let me just round up here with Greece tourists or bust head cheerleader Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis, who was quoted saying appropriately yesterday beaming with pride:
“I am proud to be welcoming Celebrity Cruises back to its Greek roots on this special occasion of our Country’s independence bicentennial and am eager for travelers to return to the unforgettable experiences of all of our destinations on one of the world’s newest ships.”
I just bet you are Harry, you worked so hard to ensure cruise passengers feel safe flooding ashore where Greeks can no longer carry COVID-19. I hope the villagers here on Crete get to shed their masks and open their stores safely, before the throng reaches Chania, Rethymno, or Heraklion.
Finally, gigantic cruise liners headed to already overburdened Greek isles stand in stark contrast to what the people of Greece are feeling right now. News Greece recorded 2,587 new cases of the coronavirus on the 200th anniversary of Greek independence, just as a side note. Also, Greek Reporter mentioned a record number of people on ventilators. Kathimerini reported Genome testing finding 2,898 UK, 56 South African coronavirus variants in Greece. And finally, Britain’s Prince Charles’ Greek visit just before new tough measures to keep Brits home widens the divide between the all-powerful and ordinary folks, as well.
So, on the anniversary of Greece’s revolution to break free of the shackles of the Ottoman Empire, a corporate empire celebrates with them, getting ready to create sustainable cruise tourism on Santorini, Mykonos, and other inoculated islands in Greece. But Greeks needn’t worry, all those big spenders aboard Celebrity Apex will be vaccinated, and they will surely spend a few euros on souvlaki or a donkey rise, which we know will make shop owners rich beyond their wildest dreams.