Greece is preparing to gradually open its doors to travelers in July after health experts give the go-ahead and relevant coronavirus (Covid-19) safety protocols are in place, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis speaking to BBC News on Friday.
“In order to salvage most of the season, tourism is a very seasonal activity, we need to aim at some time in July. Now this cannot be with every source country, with every destination, but we have to try to open up with some countries,” said Theoharis in an interview to BBC News presenter Martine Croxall.
Theoharis said the EU must acknowledge the importance and key role of the tourism sector as well as the impact of Covid-19 on the sector and the need to ensure support through financial tools aimed at dealing with “a crisis that is very acute”. He underlined that the impact of the health crisis remains great as Greece relies heavily on its tourism sector.
“Europe is the most developed area in the world with regard to tourism,” said Theoharis, adding that “if the tourism sector is not restarted there can be no lasting economic restart”.
Theoharis was referring to an EU leaders meeting this week and speaking ahead of an EU tourism ministers video conference scheduled for April 27.
The minister referred to Greece’s prompt response to the coronavirus outbreak as well as to its low infection and death rates, noting that it is an EU member state that is successfully dealing with the health crisis through “aggressive” containment measures combined with a far-reaching public awareness campaign.