Greece’s tourist guides will be receiving compensation in full for losses suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis this week after guide associations called for additional aid.
Speaking in parliament on Monday, Theoharis said the government would move swiftly ahead with financial relief to tourist guides, adding that ensuring access to employment was now a key priority.
“The government will provide tourist guides with the financial support they are entitled to for 2020. However, the biggest ‘gift’ is not the bonuses, it is being able to give guides the opportunity to work, to be able to practice their profession by opening up to tourism,” he said.
“The system will open soon and guides will be able to receive the subsidies they are eligible for,” he added.
The minister also referred to the self-testing requirement for sector professionals, which guides say is problematic.
“The labor ministry will clarify the issue of self-tests. Of course, guides will be able to get them so they can work safely. There is no problem with that,” he concluded.
According to Kriton Piperas, president of the Association of Licensed Tourist Guides, in 2020, guides received a total of 1,800 euros in Covid support. Speaking to Capital.gr, Piperas said that this year for January and February they received 534 euros. He underlined that tourist guides have remained without employment due to the pandemic and lockdowns for March and April too.
“For 16 months, we have received in total less than 3,000 euros, or around 190 euros per month,” he told Capital.gr, adding that in the “rest of Europe support to guides ranged from 7,000 euros to 18,000 in 2020”.
In the same report, he also stresses that the current health protocols which allow a maximum of 15 people per guide in an open-air archaeological site and eight plus guide in a museum are not feasible, making it impossible for tour operators to arrange travel programs.