Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would not hesitate to take added measures to support the tourism industry should the need arise, encouraging businesses to tap into the “Syn-ergasia” job retention program.
Speaking at the Greek Tourism Confederation’s (SETE) 28th general assembly this week, Mitsotakis referred to the unprecedented global effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the tourism industry, which he said was bearing the brunt of the blow.
He went on to underline that re-starting tourism was at the top of his government’s priorities and that should the need arise, he would take additional support measures.
“We still have reserves if this is deemed necessary, we are here to see if additional support is needed. I believe that by the end of July, we will not hesitate to offer more,” Mitsotakis said.
He did however encourage tourism enterprises to take advantage of the “Syn-ergasia” support mechanism, which he said was a temporary solution to enable the operation of the market while allowing the maximum possible flexibility with regard to staff needs and ensuring at the same time that “tourism employees will not see their earnings drop and in this way we will be able to keep jobs, open hotels which, under other circumstances and without these additional incentives, would remain closed”.
Mitsotakis has urged businessowners to tap into the support tools created to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the condition that no jobs are lost. In this direction, the government has also launched the “Tourism for All” social tourism program, which will give 250,000 Greeks the chance to take subsidized holidays throughout the year in an attempt to reboot the sector.
Stressing the importance of the sector as a leading revenue generator, the Greek PM added that the goal at this point in time was to minimize losses, keep businesses alive, preserve as many jobs as possible and find ways to maximize the benefits of Greece’s successful management of the Covid-19 crisis so that tourism can be restructured and dynamically return to growth as of 2021.
On his part, Yiannis Retsos, who was re-elected SETE president, expressed his confidence that Greek tourism would emerge stronger from the Covid-19 health crisis, adding however that the year ahead would be a difficult one and looking to 2021 for recovery.