The travel and tourism industry is no different from any other market when it comes down to it. How can you tell, you ask? Well, a dog and pony show always ends up like a circus act with somebody as the ringleader. A report today on GTP proves my point. And boy does Greece have some an entertaining extravaganza going on these days.
Only a few hours ago Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis went on national TV to beg citizens to adhere to COVID restrictions or face another lockdown when all indications I find show the tourism reboot was primarily at fault where this second wave of COVID-19 is concerned. I’ve been soft punching the Athens officials for some weeks now, but their PR people are just using vaguery, ad nauseam, and steamrolling the negative side of the COVID/Tourism thing. Allow me to quote the lead to the article for you:
“Increased demand for Greece will contribute to the extension of the main tourism season into autumn, according to TUI executive board member Sebastian Ebel who met with Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis this week.”
Greece is on the precipice of reinstituting a lockdown, and the cabinet of Prime Minister Mitsotakis is busy with nothing but helping TUI execs prop up TUI Group stocks! Sorry, but this is just how it looks. Theoharis and TUI’s Ebel do a photo op with masks on, while citizens in the streets of Greek cities simply gave up, and most are dropping their masks over the hypocrisy. Really.
From the prospective down here on the ground, these people appear as idiots, robots, or both. Let me show you. Here’s the PR fluff the TUI exec spit out:
“Greece has created a framework for the safe resumption of travel and tourism. This has allowed us to continue and this year to offer our guests unique travel experiences in Greece. The country is well prepared for the resumption and operation of tourism.”
Look. Greece flattened the coronavirus curve better than any other European nation. Then somebody turned up the heat to restart flights and boat trips to Greece for vacationers. A system was put in place, touted as effective, then TUI and other corporate conduits started sending what vacationers they could find to a Greece touted as “safe”.
Next, the cases went up, and they went up drastically. The cause seems to be twofold. First, foreigners brought cases across Greece’s borders. Second, the false sense of security Greek people got from Mitsotakis’ reboot campaigns turned into a sociological problem. The “how come” and the “why me” set in once TUI planes started landing. And trust me, you’ll have a hell of a time finding a facemask on a tourist here on Crete. This is one reason I call the whole affair a circus act. Let the vacationers do whatever, then blame the frustrated young people of Greece for being young and fed up.
People were led to believe, wittingly or unwittingly, that everything MUST be okay if tourists are coming back. Now, weary of masks, lockdowns, and a looming economic disaster, many people just don’t believe the government, and many more simply do not care. This is why I say these people are either idiots or stooges to some group of shareholders somewhere. Here in Greece, it feels like we are on the RMS Titanic, and the entertainment officer is calling us to the main salon for a concert. This full steam ahead tourism gambit is ludicrous.
On the news, TUI AG stocks are up today by 1.17%, but still at the lowest point in 5 years. 3 days ago all travel stocks were down on renewed COVID fears. In the third quarter (Q3), the tour operator generated €75 million in revenue, which is a 98% decline. So guess what kind of news TUI needs now?
Here’s the thing nobody is talking about TUI needed a safe destination to run some tourists through in order to put some black ink down on the spreadsheets. Greece, a country with deep economic ties to Germany, was the likely suspect since the country was deemed safer than most others. I leave the implications to the reader, but reassert how misguided this Mitsotakis/TUI strategy seems to be. I only hope I am wrong, and November does not turn into a Greece/COVID nightmare.