Greece’s gradual opening to tourism, while completely observing all measures for the safety of tourists, workers and residents, aims to help stimulate the country’s economy following the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Wednesday.
Speaking in parliament, Minister Theoharis said that by taking steps, such as opening six Greek ports to cruise travel from August 1, the government is aiming to reduce the country’s losses for this year.
“During this extremely difficult situation, Greece is laying the foundations for tourism in the coming years, seeking to maximize the benefits for the future,” he said.
Referring to Greece’s Covid-19 protection measures for tourism, Theoharis said that the government was following all health protocols and was not taking any shortcuts.
“Greece prepared and is implementing a comprehensive plan to protect Greek citizens and tourists… We opened tourism with the utmost care and with the safety of all as our absolute priority,” he said.
The minister went on to say that when tourism employees were tested, not a single positive Covid-19 case was identified.
“The (current) cases are not related to tourism… The opening of Greek tourism was done by taking gradual steps… We did not open to third countries, although there is pressure to do so. We are careful and always rely on what the epidemiologists tell us. The tests show us that we do not have many imported cases. In a percentage, what we have is 1 in 1,000,” Theoharis said.
Referring to his recent announcement that six Greek ports will open to cruise travel from August 1, the minister said that the decision was taken after being consulted by health experts and taking under consideration the necessary protocols.
“These protocols include testing for all passengers before boarding, for all crew members prior to taking up their duties,” he said, adding that the protocols include guidelines on crew training, physical distancing, personal hygiene, etc.
The protocols for cruise travel also include the daily monitoring of the health of crew members and an emergency plan which provides guidance on how to respond to a Covid-19 case at sea.
Greece on Wednesday recorded 57 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 4,336. Out of the new cases, 10 were confirmed at the country’s entry points. Greece’s Covid-19 death toll is at 203.