The Greek tourism industry is adjusting after Covid-19 and will require fine-tuning in the coming months, but a great deal of work has gone into ensuring that all visitors as well as locals and sector professionals will be safe, said Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis, from Crete, this week.
Theoharis, currently on an inspection tour of the Greek islands following Greece’s reopening to tourists on Wednesday, called for cohesion and sent out a message of understanding with regard to the screening process underway at airports across the country.
“It’s not a question of the screening process becoming a daily matter, screening is a simple process that will end quickly and we will conduct it as efficiently as possible. It allows us all to act effectively and maintain control,” said Theoharis.
“We are not backing down, we have worked intensively all this time and I am here to convey a message of optimism. Not with regard to numbers but to quality. This is, after all, the bet this year: quality, security, tranquillity that our country can offer,” said Theocharis, adding that the success of the sector will also mean employee demands are met.
In this direction, earlier this week, Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas announced on MEGA TV that plans were under way to improve the Syn-ergasia job support program, currently subsidizing thousands of employees out of work, firstly by cutting the red tape involved and secondly by making it more attractive by extending the subsidy period or by covering a larger part of insurance contributions.
Petsas went on to add that Greece would be proceeding “carefully” until July 15, adding that any comparisons of tourist arrivals should be made “starting from zero… and not with the more than 30 million visitors that Greece had last year… about three and a half months ago no one could image we would be in the situation we are in today… opening our borders gradually, attentively, with many security rules… So, we are starting from scratch,” he said.
The government spokesman went on to add that restrictions will gradually be lifted and hopes that they are not “stifling”, adding that he expects there to be coronavirus incidents among travelers but that it is important to manage and contain the spread.
On his part, Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas underlined the importance of formulating a new model of tourist development that will focus on diversifying the tourist product, attracting higher-income visitors, sustainable forms of tourism, digital transformation of tourism enterprises, and improving the sector’s competitiveness.
“The mass tourism model has come to an end. The one-sided character of tourism, seasonality, but also the over-concentration of tourist activities in only five regions of the country are considerable drawbacks,” said Konsolas.