Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to announce on Wednesday the government’s action plan aimed at salvaging the 2020 tourism year in the aftermath of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic focusing measures on protecting jobs, reducing taxation, and ensuring liquidity.
In his address to the nation on Wednesday evening, Mitsotakis is expected to present detailed plans for the tourism sector, the economy and employment which in turn will be implemented by the relevant ministries.
The country’s tourism professionals are eagerly awaiting the announcement of support measures as well as guidelines and time frames in order for tourism-related business to make the necessary adaptations for post-Covid-19 operations. Greece is aiming to open to controlled tourism in July.
According to reports, Mitsotakis will – based on European Commission decisions – announce support for businesses and professionals including liquidity measures, tax cuts on transport and on food and beverages (from 24 percent to 13 percent), and employee aid in efforts to ensure that entrepreneurs do not lay off employees and abide by labor legislation.
“We are doing everything we can to support income and employment. But this summer will not be like last year’s. This year, tourism will start from scratch,” said Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas on Monday, marking the first day of free country-wide travel after restrictions were lifted.
Petsas added that as of May 25, travel to all the Greek islands will be allowed “as long as the epidemiological feedback continues to be good”. The country’s restaurants, cafes and bars are also are scheduled to reopen to the public with new rules for owners and customers on the same day.
The Greek prime minister is also expected to announce details concerning inbound travel as well as restrictions and requirements for admission into the country in an attempt to both capitalize on Greece’s good track record with regard to containing the spread of the deadly virus and to reboot the tourism sector – a key driver of the economy.
Greece is reportedly considering allowing inbound travelers from countries with successful Covid-19 containment including Cyprus, Egypt and Israel. In this direction, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis is in talks with his counterparts from Cyprus and Israel discussing the possibility of setting up a “safe tourism zone”.
It should be noted however that non-European citizens are still not allowed admission into Greece, as the country’s borders remain temporarily closed to non-EU nationals until May 31.
At the same time, the government has reportedly already prepared a far-reaching marketing campaign aimed at highlighting Greece’s effective handling of the health crisis guided by experts and epidemiologists.
Key to recouping what remains of the tourism season is the enforcement of related legislation as well as the adaptation to the new precautionary health guidelines by tourism professionals, businesses and travelers.