Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expects to see tourism to Greece pick up pace this summer after the country’s key revenue generator and employer took a blow last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ll do much better,” he told Reuters in an interview this week, forecasting a gradual recovery in the summer which will be a result of effective and far reaching vaccination in Greece but also in key source markets such as the UK and Israel.
“Essentially, we are dependent on the pace of vaccination in our main markets,” he admitted, adding however that Britain and Israel were accelerating their vaccination rollouts.
“For example, Israel is a very important market for Greece and if 70 percent of the Israeli population is vaccinated by the end of March, it makes it easier to gradually start opening up to Israelis who have a real interest in traveling.”
On its own front earlier this year, Greece launched a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate to be used when needed.
The Greek prime minister also tabled a proposal for an EU-wide coronavirus vaccination certificate that would go a long way towards facilitating travel and reigniting the economy. The idea was welcomed by global tourism and aviation bodies but ran into privacy concerns by EU leaders.
He reiterated however that certificates would not be mandatory for visitors to Greece this summer.
“I am a realist but I am also cautiously optimistic that we will do much better than last year,” he told Reuters, adding that in 2020 Greek tourism was at 20-25 percent of its “regular” annual performance.
“If we were to get 50 percent of what a regular year would look like, it’s still going to be 100 percent better than last year,” he said of the industry which accounts for approximately 20 percent of the economy and employs one in five workers.