The Greek government this week will announce support measures for the country’s tourism sector in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the health protocols for the safe operation of the country’s hotels, according to government spokesman Stelios Petsas.
“The aim is to form a consistent package (of measures), a framework that will focus on three pillars: employment, taxation and liquidity,” Petsas said on Saturday during an interview on SKAI TV, adding that the measures will also cover domestic and incoming tourism.
According to sources, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will make an announcement on Wednesday evening, as the measures are scheduled to begin in June. The support package for tourism will include tax breaks, a subsidy for the salaries of workers through the EU’s SURE program and a recovery plan for the tourism season.
Petsas said the government is aiming for the – soon to be announced – health and travel protocols to be able to convince all holidaymakers that they will be safe when traveling to Greece and to persuade the country’s tourism professionals that it is in their best interest to open their businesses for the 2020 season.
“We are exiting the health crisis and we hope that we will not have a setback. Transport is slowly opening and from Monday travel to all prefectures will be allowed. Therefore, step by step, we will reach mid-June and then it will be much more clear what will happen in Greece, but also in the rest of the countries, from July 1,” he said.
At this point, Petsas underlined that travel by road in Greece is just as important as air transport. “About 10 of the 30 million visitors come to Greece by road,” he said.
Moreover, he said that the government is considering to form agreements with non-EU countries that will be safe for all travelers and for Greece.
“We are in discussions with countries, not just with our EU neighbors, but also with others for the possibility of launching bilateral agreements,” he said, adding that Greece is a country with a very low epidemiological issue compared to other European countries.
Greece is looking to create “safe corridors” for travel between the countries that have done well in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, such as Austria, Israel, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has already explored the issue with leaders of other countries and discussions are expected to continue.
According to the Greek government, if all goes well, Greece should be open for tourists in July.