Greek authorities are exploring the possibility of safe entry documentation to be shown at airports in Greece upon arrival after coronavirus (Covid-19) travel restrictions are lifted.
According to Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas, the ministry was looking into the possibility of “entry protocols” as part its next-day plan to recover lost ground.
In the meantime, the ministry is looking to take measures to support tourism businesses on a wait and see basis and depending on the duration of the health crisis which has taken the world by storm, the deputy minister said on Sunday speaking during a live internet show.
Among actions being considered to relieve tourism enterprises from the losses incurred due to the spread of Covid-19, are reducing tax rates in tourism.
Looking to the future, Konsolas said 2021 would mark the reboot of the tourism economy, which would involve re-launching the Greek tourism product under new conditions. Focus will now turn to thematic tourism and establishing Greece as a center of tourism education and know-how.
Finance Minister: 5-10% decline of GDP
According to Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, the Covid-19 outbreak is costing Greece 2.5 points off its GDP for every month it continues, impacting one of its main growth generators: tourism, which according to Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis is set to decline by as much as 50 percent this year.
During a recent interview on Thema 104,6 FM, Staikouras confirmed analysts’ reports that Greece stands to suffer a major blow to its economy making it more vulnerable to the Covid-19 test due to its reliance on tourism. Staikouras is forecasting a 5-10 percent contraction of GDP this year.
“Having started off with a better and higher dynamic than other countries, Greece – expected to achieve more than double the economic growth compared to the rest of Europe – will experience the same levels of recession as in Europe due to greater exposure of tourism [to Covid-19],” he said.
SETE: 2020 is almost a lost year for tourism
Representing the bulk of tourism businesses in Greece, Yiannis Retsos, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), describes 2020 as almost a “lost year in tourism”.
“For me, the big bet is whether over the next 12 months we will have the medical data to support that the virus is being treated effectively and that all European countries and the United States will support their airlines,” Retsos told Thema 104,6 FM. “With these two conditions, if implemented, 2021 will be a year during which we will be able to recover much of what will be lost this year, and come 2022, we may be able to come close to 2018 and 2019 [levels].”
Retsos stressed that the priority for 2020 was to ensure the least possible losses and damage to tourism businesses and employees.