Friday has been a pretty busy news day where the tourism sector is concerned. Here’s a brief rundown of the news and events from Greece.
Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament today that the government has pinned its hopes on self-testing and vaccination to end the crippling COVID-19 pandemic in his country. The PM says the country is in a last critical two-month battle against Covid-19. Mitsotakis and his ministers have been under the microscope over Greece’s handling of the second wave of coronavirus.
Athens officials also announced this week there will be subsidies for Greece’s food and beverages (F&B) sector with some 330 million euros in aid to assist recovery after Covid-19. According to the announcement, companies in the sector will be able to take out 100,000 euros in start-up capital under certain conditions when they reopen.
Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos held a press conference this week to express hotel operator guarded optimism over the 2021 restart of tourism. Vassilikos was quoted saying:
“There will be a strong rebound, but no one can know ‘when’ because there is no previous experience that involves a health crisis of this magnitude.”
The veteran hotelier went on to say the abnormal state of public health should prevent all forecasts until a more firm footing is established in the battle against the coronavirus. He said early reservations and other guarantees are not appearing, and everything still remains uncertain. This is a far more candid view considering government and other sectors seemingly overconfident stances.
Finally, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) is working with leading airlines and tour operators on ways to cooperate in order to promote Greece’s tourism product to markets abroad, the organization’s secretary-general, Dimitris Fragakis was quoted today saying:
“The way one travels and the way a destination is chosen will change, and we are preparing for these new trends. For months now, we have been in negotiations with airlines and tour operators abroad with regard to advertising agreements.”
The New Democracy government is also under fire because of giving tourism the top priority on an equal or superior footing with vaccinating Greek citizens. The tourism ministry has done the job of negotiating the restart, but many feel the country will not be ready when tourists arrive.