Yesterday, Greece’s Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis told the Greek Parliament that gradual opening to tourism, while observing all measures for the safety of tourists, workers, and residents, has the aim of stimulating the sagging economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Theoharis also told legislators steps like opening six Greek ports to cruise travel from August 1, will also help reduce Greece’s financial loses due to COVID-19. The minister was also cited by GTP saying:
“During this extremely difficult situation, Greece is laying the foundations for tourism in the coming years, seeking to maximize the benefits for the future.”
Theoharis said that the government is following all health protocols while taking no shortcuts to protecting citizens and tourists. Greece’s comprehensive plan has been lauded as one of the most proactive and effective in the world. He also noted that not a single tourism employee tested so far has shown a positive COVID-19 result. Theoharis added:
“The (current) cases are not related to tourism… The opening of Greek tourism was done by taking gradual steps… We did not open to third countries, although there is pressure to do so. We are careful and always rely on what the epidemiologists tell us. The tests show us that we do not have many imported cases. In a percentage, what we have is 1 in 1,000.”
For those unfamiliar, six Greek ports will open to cruise travel from August 1. According to Theoharis, that decision was made with the help of key health experts. The tourism minister went on to detail how passengers and crew are to be testes, and how training for crew will be orchestrated.
Yesterday, Greece recorded 57 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 4,336. Out of the new cases, 10 were confirmed at the country’s entry points. Greece’s Covid-19 death toll is at 203. A recent spike in cases has caused Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias to demand that masks will now be required as well by everyone inside retail shops, public service offices, banks, food stores, bakeries, and elevators now.
Finally, Mr. Theoharis also announced that the government is raising the budget for the 2020-2021 “Tourism for All” social tourism program from €30 million euros to €100 million euros, so that more Greek beneficiaries to participate in the vacation subsidy scheme.