As Greece opens its borders to travelers from dozens of countries, Greek hoteliers are urging the government to implement mandatory Covid-19 testing 72 hours ahead of travel to all incoming tourists stressing that the sector can no longer suffer additional setbacks.
“Compulsory tests everywhere… for all those coming from countries with burdened epidemiological data… We cannot afford other setbacks, revenue in hospitality has collapsed,” said Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX) President Grigoris Tasios speaking to SKAI online recently.
Tasios underlined the importance of quick and well-researched decisions which will enable tourism professionals to operate without added problems.
Referring to summer this year as the “Covid-19 season”, Tasios reiterated the federation’s recommendation that additional testing measures be applied particularly at border check points due to a large incoming flow of tourists via road and expressed his concerns about the accuracy of Covid-19 detection in neighboring countries due to lagging infrastructure and high cost.
“Businesses cannot operate with setbacks. The average occupancy in mainland Greece was set to reach 40 percent but now has dropped to 25 percent,” said Tasios adding that health protocols “should be applied by all and not only by hotel enterprises which have also shouldered the added costs.
Meanwhile on the islands, Tasios said occupancy had dropped to around 10-15 percent.
‘Covid Bonus’ subsidy program for ‘healthy tourists’
Speaking to Real Fm on Thursday, Tasios said that Greek hotels are keen on covering 50 percent of the cost of the 72-hour pre-travel Covid-19 tests of travelers that produce a negative result upon arrival.
Dubbed the “Covid Bonus reward program”, the initiative – which is not in force at the moment – will aim to attract healthy travelers to choose Greece to spend their holidays.
“We are in contact with the competent ministries to implement this private initiative and once again support tourism, but this must be implemented horizontally and there should be no exclusion of tourists who prove to be healthy through the test, such as visitors from Serbia or Russia,” Tasios stressed.
It should be reminded that hoteliers are calling for extra safety measures as Greece opens to travelers from the UK (Wednesday) and Sweden (July 20) this month and is considering accepting visitors from the US as well as from other non-EU countries with a mandatory negative PRC test result 72 hours ahead of travel.