Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis is aiming for the opening of the Greek tourism season in July to give the sector a boost and help “save” August, the country’s most strongest month of the season.
“If all goes well and we proceed with the second phase of our plan that includes the gradual easing of our (Covid-19) restrictions, which is a precondition to open our borders, we expect our tourism market to open for some foreign markets in early- or by mid-July and then to enter August stronger,” Theoharis said during the Prodexpo Virtual online event held by Tsomokos Digital on Friday.
The minister underlined that it is important “for August, Greek tourism’s most strongest month, to not go to waste”.
Referring to that scenario as “realistic”, the minister that if it materialized it could mitigate recession and even lead to growth.
“A 2-3 percent growth this year would result to a 10-15 percent growth next year,” Theoharis said.
The minister said he sees the domestic market recovering first and then road tourism. Greek tourism may then see a comeback of arrivals from nearby foreign markets and lastly from long-haul destinations.
He added that the ministry continues to monitor the situation of source markets that have started to ease travel restrictions and is in contact with several countries, including Israel and Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and China.
Greece entered its first stage in easing a nationwide lockdown on May 4 and is currently working on the second phase of measures that include the lifting of travel restrictions, and the opening of seasonal and year-round hotels.
To ensure the safe operation of hotels and resorts in Greece, the government is looking to establish health protocols in collaboration with the national health authorities, hospitality professionals and tourism bodies.
These health and safety protocols are expected to be announced next week.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has asked for specific health protocols to be agreed on a European level, especially in the case of air travel. These may see travelers getting tested before they fly to Greece and then carefully monitored upon arrival with an antibody or a PCR test.