Relying in large part on incoming tourism, Greece’s hoteliers are now calling on the government to set clear regulations concerning health protocols, hospitality operations and to provide financial support so that facilities can return to business in the post-coronavirus (Covid-19) era.
Hotel Chamber: Hotels need time to prepare
“It is necessary to immediately clarify the terms for the reopening of hotels,” Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the chamber’s president, hoteliers must know exactly the environment in which they will be called upon to make “critical business decisions” and also need a reasonable amount of time to prepare their hotels and train their staff in accordance to the health protocols that will be implemented for the safety of visitors, employees and locals.
“At the same time, the more the actual dimensions of the great economic challenge that we are all called to face are revealed, the more the need for bold measures to support Greek tourism emerges,” Vassilikos said, underlining that the chamber is cooperating in this direction with the Tourism Ministry and all bodies of the sector.
Vassilikos added that Greek tourism must be supported with liquidity for businesses, subsidies for employment and improved competitiveness.
“Then hoteliers – as always – will be on the front line to raise Greece high once again,” he concluded.
POX: We need to be protected against claims
According to the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX), opening the country’s hotels on June 1 as announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis recently, would be rash particularly in view of the fact that there is no clear guidance yet with regard to health protocols thus putting at risk hotel enterprises.
“To date, our members have not been informed of any health protocols that should apply… there are also no guarantees that once operations resume, our members will not be exposed to claims by customers or employees in the event of a virus incident,” POX said in a recent letter sent to Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis and to his deputy Manos Konsolas.
Additionally, POX goes on to add that there has been no clear guidance with regard to employee requirements.
“Hotels should reopen when they are able to do so safely… If you want to reopen hotels on June 1, give hotel businesses unable to open on this date the opportunity and the necessary tools to remain closed for as long as necessary so that when they are finally ready to re-open to be protected against criminal charges and civil damages so that they do not run the risk of ceasing operations permanently,” the letter reads.
Underlining the importance of redefining the overall tourism experience in the post-Covid-19 reality, POX President Grigoris Tasios noted that a new tourist model cannot be set up in under two months.
“But with a decade-long or 20-year vision, we will be able to redesign our product so that it can maintain its attractiveness in the new tourism market that will be created as we enter an era where everything is being revised”, he said.