Under the best-case scenario, Greece will be open for business and welcoming tourists in July, provided that the EU has agreed on health protocols for travel, the country’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Monday.
Speaking to CNN’s Nic Robertson in Athens, on the occasion of Greece easing its Covid-19 restrictions, the Greek PM said that it is going to be a very “different summer” this year.
Referring to the country’s tourism sector, PM Mitsotakis said tourists are not coming to Greece at the moment – “during the first stage” – and that the real question is if the country will we be able to have tourists come later in the summer.
The PM said it is possible only if specific (health) protocols are agreed “hopefully at a European level”, which may see travelers getting tested before they fly to Greece and then carefully monitored upon arrival with an antibody or a PCR test.
“Τhe tourism experience this summer will be slightly different from what you’ve had in previous years, with more social distancing, maybe no bars and no tight crowds but they (tourists) will still get a fantastic experience in Greece provided the global epidemic is on a downward path,” the PM said, adding that the best-case scenario sees Greece “open for business” as of July 1.
“We’re working and preparing towards that but of course it involves airlines – because most people fly into Greece – and very strict but also enforceable protocols,” he said.
When asked by Robertson to give a percentage on how big the economic loss may be, PM Mitsotakis referred to a contraction of 10 percent.
“…It is going to be much worse if we don’t open up at all for the summer… It is going to be a very different summer but we hope that the worse is behind us,” he said.
Referring to how well Greece managed to contain the coronavirus from spreading in the country, PM Mitsotakis that what he keep as a legacy of the crisis is the sense of collective success.
“I dare to use the word pride. Greeks haven’t been proud in a long, long time,” he said.
The coronavirus has so far infected 2,632 people in Greece and the death toll has reached 146, still among the lowest among EU member-states.