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Greek Hoteliers Demand Unified Covid-19 Approach

Greek National Public Health Organization’s (EODY) crew is conducting COVID-19 tests to travelers at the Promahonas checkpoint. Photo Source: @EODY

Citing a sudden drop in bookings in Northern Greece due to the latest measures announced by the government for mandatory Covid-19 testing through the Promahonas border point, Greek hoteliers are calling for a single unified approach that will not impact arrivals.

In a letter to Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis and to his deputy Manos Konsolas, the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX) said the recent announcements for mandatory testing – resulting from an increase in “imported” coronavirus cases – in the middle of the tourist season led to uncertainty and confusion among tourists, both Greek and foreign, who either cancelled or refrained from booking.

According to POX, forecasts of 40-50 percent occupancy levels fell to 20 percent due to the announcement and are not expected to exceed that figure this year.

The federation is urging the government to coordinate its measures and to refrain from making detailed announcements concerning Covid-19 developments in specific areas so as to avoid creating a bad reputation for certain destinations.

According to POX, these reports create a “false impression that the destinations where cases are found are not safe”.

POX is also requesting additional support measures for hotels which are now expected due to Covid-19 to shoulder additional (by 5-7 percent) precautionary costs, as well as actions by the government to address home sharing providers which have not be required to abide by coronavirus regulations, the federation says.

It is also suggesting that testing and additional Covid-19 measures apply to all incoming travelers regardless of means of transport – air, sea, road.

Grigoris Tasios

Earlier this week, POX President Grigoris Tasios called for mandatory Covid-19 testing 72 hours ahead of travel to all incoming tourists stressing that the sector can no longer suffer additional setbacks.

Tasios went as far as to suggest that Greek hotels were considering covering 50 percent of the cost of the 72-hour pre-travel Covid-19 tests for travelers who produce a negative result upon arrival.

The idea behind the so-called “Covid Bonus Reward Program” – not in force at the moment – is to motivate healthy travelers to choose Greece as their holiday destination, he said.

“It is absolutely clear that this year our goal is for us and our employees to survive and, at the same time, to preserve the reputation of our country as a top tourist destination,” POX said.

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