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Greek Tourism Ministry Closely Monitoring Coronavirus Situation

At the moment, early bookings for summer holidays in Greece are seeing a slight decline due to the coronavirus outbreak but a severe impact (cancellations) on the market has not been recorded.

Greece’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and the ripple effects it may cause on sectors including tourism, retail and supplies, topped the agenda of a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday in Athens.

“As a government we are developing actions for the side effects of this international phenomenon,” the Greek PM said during the meeting, which followed two new cases of coronavirus in the country.

Greece currently has three confirmed cases of coronavirus, two in Thessaloniki and one in Athens.

“With regard to the protection of public health, the approved plan of the competent ministry is underway,” the premier said. It should be noted that earlier on Thursday, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced the cancellation of all carnival events across Greece, as done by other European countries.

Economy, supplies

According to the PM, a preliminary assessment of the possible impact of the coronavirus on the Greek economy, if the phenomenon escalates in Europe, is being prepared by the Finance Ministry.

The Finance Ministry is also said to be examining measures to support entrepreneurship, if deemed necessary.

“As for the market, there is no problem with the supply of any goods, so there is no reason for anxiety and artificial demand from consumers,” PM Mitsotakis said.

Tourism

Regarding tourism, PM Mitsotakis said that measures are already being taken by the Tourism Ministry.

According to sources, the Tourism Ministry is closely monitoring the situation and has one of the main roles in a crisis management team set up by the Health Ministry and includes the National Public Health Organization and tourism sector bodies (SETE and Hellenic Hoteliers Federation). Sources underlined that the Tourism Ministry is in constant contact with the crisis management team in order to coordinate actions to lessen any impact the coronavirus may have on Greek tourism.

At the moment, early bookings for summer holidays in Greece are seeing a slight decline due to the coronavirus outbreak but a severe impact (cancellations) on the market has not been recorded.

However, if the coronoavirus situation escalates in Europe, sources revealed that the Tourism Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) may re-examine the country’s promotional plans and focus more on safeguarding the reputation of the Greek brand to pass on the message that Greece is one of the most safest countries to travel to.

Moreover, according to sources, the Tourism Ministry will have a more clear picture of the coronoavirus’ effect on Greek tourism after minister Harry Theoharis meets with his counterparts next week in Berlin, Germany, at the ITB travel trade show.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.
  1. Lisa Reply

    Perfect, thank you Nikos

  2. Lisa Reply

    Hi Nikos … what would you say to the small Greek villages that depend on the summer tourism for survival? Do you think they should be closing their doors now to protect themselves or to stay open for business as usual? I have a home in Crete, I live in Wales, I want to travel to Crete but I don’t want to be the cause of worry for the villagers. There is no virus in Wakes or in Crete but there is an airport and plane in between! Your thoughts would be much appreciated please

    • GTP editing team Reply

      Hello Lisa and thank you for your message.
      I would just like to point out that no Greek destination is closing their doors nor are Greeks turning away visitors. Please know that the tourism ministry is working together with the health ministry on measures for the safety of both the Greek residents and inbound travelers. I personally do not think that tourism businesses should shut their doors to visitors. From what I know at the moment is that all tourism bodies representing businesses in Greece are in direct contact with the ministries and are following the necessary protective measures. Also, please note that Greece has very few cases of the coronavirus and only in urban centers.
      What is important in such situations is not to panic.
      Best, Nikos

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