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Greece Invites its Tourism Businesses to Open for 2020 Season

Greek tourism businesses and employees will be fully supported through the government’s soon-to-be-announced action plan, which is aimed at assisting the sector in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Ant1 TV on Tuesday, the government’s spokesman, Stelios Petsas, assured that the action plan will be a “comprehensive package” of measures, which will be extended for a sufficient period of time, so that all active in the tourism field will feel more secure. He stressed that tourism businesses should not remain closed this season.

The Greek government’s action plan for tourism is scheduled to be announced on Wednesday, May 20, by Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a live televised address to the country.

“It (the plan) will not only focus on health and travel protocols that travelers and professionals will need to be aware of, but it will include support for employment, tax relief and liquidity measures,” Petsas said, adding that tourism professionals need to know that “it is in their best interest to open their businesses” this season and not to remain closed.

According to reports, as Covid-19 travel restrictions are currently in place and bookings are still low, a number of Greek properties are considering the option of remaining closed this year.

The government’s spokesman urged professionals not to worry about opening and rehiring staff, as the support measures are intended to last a sufficient period of time, “until turnover returns to satisfactory levels”.

According to Petsas, the employees that “will fall under the umbrella of protection to be opened by the government”, include:

– full-time employees (support will be offered for social security benefits and wage costs).
– seasonal (full-time and part-time) employees, who usually receive the unemployment benefit for several months and are reemployed at the same businesses when the tourist season begins.

“When you have an economy like Greece’s, whose direct revenue from tourism is some 19 billion euros, one understands that when in five months you have revenue below 1 billion, then you are really at zero. However, according to the current health data and our upcoming plan, we are optimistic that we can expect a better picture for tourism,” he said, adding that whatever is accomplished will be considered a success in relation to what the government, professionals and employees originally had in mind.

‘Greece at the center of international interest’

The Acropolis in Athens. Photo Source: GNTO

According to the government spokesman, the interest for travel to Greece from abroad is very high, even now.

“The recommendations given by leading tour operators focus on choosing the safest destinations and, among them, Greece is in the first places,” he said, adding that the international news coverage that the reopening of the Acropolis and the country’s other archaeological sites received is proof that the attention is on Greece.

“Everyone is waiting to see what Greece will do… and the opening of the archaeological sites was world news. This indirectly advertises and helps us,” he said.

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