Greece hopes to save summer tourist season after coronavirus crisis
In Greece, tourism is currently one of the two lungs of the Greek economy along with the merchant marine. Trying to save what can be saved during this tourist season therefore represents a major challenge for the country. REUTERS / Goran Tomasevic / File Photo
Text by: Joël Bronner Follow
With 166 officially registered deaths, Greece has so far been relatively spared from the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the health risks, Athens now hopes to attract foreign visitors to partially save a summer tourist season, which already looks difficult.
With our correspondent in Athens ,
In Greece, tourism is currently one of the two lungs of the Greek economy along with the merchant marine. Trying to save what can be saved at the level of this tourist season therefore represents a major challenge for a country that is barely raising its head after ten years of a serious financial crisis.
In Greece, the tourism sector is connected to around one in five jobs and accounts for almost 20% of its GDP. This sunny country of 11 million inhabitants, notably renowned for its Mediterranean islands (Crete, Santorini, Corfu, Mykonos) received more than 30 million visitors last year, three times more than the number of inhabitants who resident in Greece year round.
Prepare the tourist season
According to official announcements, the Greek tourist season will start this year from June 15 with the reopening of hotels. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke on Wednesday May 20, notably on television. As for foreign visitors , many international flights are expected to resume from July 1.
In addition to the announcement of a drop in VAT on transport, from 24 to 13%, or even on non-alcoholic drinks, the main incentives for tourists will be the absence of compulsory tests before departure and the also absence of quarantine on arrival. Even if, moreover, the Greek authorities should theoretically set up a series of spot tests.
The gradual reopening of the Greek borders
Greece has for the moment published a list of twenty countries whose visitors will be able to be welcomed from June 15, including several central European states, Germany, but also Australia, Japan and even China.
For the other countries, several of which should see the Greek borders reopened gradually from July 1 and 15, the authorities announced that it would depend, on a case-by-case basis, on the progression of the virus.
Because fundamentally, the risk here is that although Greece was relatively spared from the health crisis at first, it is ultimately the tourists who bring, so to speak, the virus in their luggage.
►Read: Greece: the end of the crisis?
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