Adjusting to a new post-Covid-19 reality with inclusive forms of tourism which respect the environment is key to sector recovery, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis during the International Energy Forum on Wednesday.
Theoharis joined global tourism and travel industry stakeholders, including Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili and Steve Sear, president Delta Airlines International, for the IEF Virtual Expert Roundtable on Covid-19 Impacts to discuss the repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak on demand as well as safe and sustainable recovery strategies for the energy, aviation, and tourism industry.
“The pandemic exposed an opportunity for different and more authentic experiences. We must all think about the future of tourism and the sensitive links between tourism and the environment,” said Theoharis adding that the time was ripe to “turn the crisis into an opportunity by working for a more sustainable, inclusive and sustainable tourism model”.
In this direction, the Greek tourism minister tabled five recommendations for a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive tourism model, which include:
– an integrated strategy with regard to travel in Covid-19 times which focuses on targeted measures, in addition to distancing, effective detection and control of suspicious cases;
– stimulating demand for travel;
– investing in research for a Covid-19 vaccine;
– developing comprehensive recovery strategies for areas affected by the crisis such as tourism businesses and related services;
– and the introduction of adjustment measures on local, regional and national levels with the aim to lay the foundations for a healthy tourism ecosystem.
“Domestic and EU tourism will dominate in the near future. 267 million Europeans or 62 percent of the population take at least one private leisure trip a year and 78 percent of Europeans spend their holidays in their country of origin or in another EU country. Greece has successfully introduced the ‘Tourism for All’ program with a budget of about 100 million euros, to support domestic tourism,” said Theoharis.
On a final note, the minister referred to the ramifications of the Covid-19 crisis on tourism, estimating that it will take two to four years for arrival figures to return to 2019 levels.