Ryanair is cooperating with the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) to promote Greece in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy according to the latest news from the airline. The strange timing of the news pretty much has Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary written all over it, despite the fact his name appears nowhere in the press.
The airline will promote Greek islands and other destinations under the slogan “All you want is Greece”, through the carrier’s media outlets and third-party digital platforms. But the funny thing about this announcement is that Ryanair and other airlines already heavily promote Greece and other destinations via their platforms.
Ryanair says flights to and from the Greek islands have been enhanced with new routes and extra connections from all over Europe. Ryanair offers connections from European airports to islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, Chania, Kos, and Rhodes.
Even though many of these Greece destinations are currently colored red on various travel lists, the budget airline seems undaunted by the implications or the spread of new variants of the coronavirus. Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Dara Brady said Ryanair is delighted to help in Greece’s reboot of tourism, and he went on to say:
“We have significantly increased connectivity to/from the Greek Islands with new routes and additional frequencies from all across Europe. This partnership will promote the wonders of this beautiful region and highlight each of Ryanair’s routes to the Islands, which have proven to be a clear favourite among our customers. Europeans can now enjoy a well-deserved sun break travelling on the lowest fares to the likes of Mykonos, Santorini, Chania, Kos and Rhodes”.
The timing is strange since Mykonos, Santorini, and Chania have been hotspots for COVID delta in the past days. And the GNTO’s Director of the UK and Ireland Emy Anagnostopoulou spoke as if Germany had not just designated parts of Greece “high risk” over new COVID cases. It’s as if decisionmakers at the highest level simply think ignoring the pandemic will make the coronavirus go away. At least, this is my view. Given the fact Greek officials have opened the party back up in Mykonos, all this feels somehow like a Quentin Tarantino movie plot. If ever Dusk Til Dawn were going to happen, Greece’s party island seems like the perfect set.
Just the other day Greece set a record for new COVID cases. Officials also issued new restrictions affecting those who are not yet vaccinated. On the face it, the turning away of unvaccinated Greeks from inside bars and restaurants, with the news Ryanair is going all out to book flights, seems uniquely weird. Are officials keeping potential COVID carriers away from tourists, or tourists away from the unprotected?
Ryanair Holdings is down slightly as of 9:43 this morning. The most recent figures from Greece’s EODY reveal 3,273 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 42 more fatalities. Santorini case incidences are still high, and Mykonos’ incidence rate has skyrocketed back up to above 345 cases per 100,000 people. As I said, the timing of this announcement is very strange.