- According to the plan, starting June 1, they will have the opportunity to open hotels with a license for year-round customer service.
- With 24 percent of Greece's gross domestic product (GDP), tourism is the country's economic backbone.
- The European Union is working to find a common strategy to lift existing travel restrictions.
Greece is planning to restore restore international air traffic as much as possible in June, and and open recreation centers for the seasonal accommodation of tourists by July 1. As the Facebook page of the Argos camp says, the country is “quitting quarantine.” It has a roadmap for lifting restrictions.
Since May 4, the Greeks can already leave the house without a special SMS pass. Beginning May 11, almost all stores and retailers should open in Greece, and graduate students will return to classes. One of the most important events is scheduled for May 18. On this day, passage to the islands should be allowed.
Restrictions on internal movement will also be lifted. According to the plan, starting June 1, they will have the opportunity to open hotels with a license for year-round customer service. Catering points that can serve customers on open terraces will be able to operate, and large shopping centers will return to normal life. By mid-June, domestic flights and regular sea links with the islands should resume.
Hotel owners in Greece fear that the global Coronavirus epidemic will completely stop the flow of tourists. The debt-ridden European country is facing another ordeal. Urgos Caticas, the owner of a hotel on the Greek island of Crete, says that by the beginning of summer, all hotels were usually fully booked and foreign tourists began arriving in the spring.
This time, however, the situation was much worse. Is different, following the temporary cessation of the spread of the global coronavirus. Several countries have begun to decide to ease travel restrictions. Greek authorities are also taking precautionary measures to revive the crisis-ridden tourism industry by allowing hotels and restaurants to be partially open to tourists.
However, this permission will be subject to precautionary measures. These regulations include ensuring hygiene, using a face mask, and maintaining a distance between people. According to Caticas, the precautionary measures may require hiring new employees, and they cannot afford the extra cost. “For hygiene reasons, for example, it will require extra staff to bring guests into the breakfast room, and I cannot afford that,” he said.
Tourism an Important Part of the Greek Economy
Greece’s tourism industry has also been hit hard by a severe financial crisis since the beginning of the decade. With 24 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP), tourism is the country’s economic backbone. The industry has been instrumental in stabilizing the Greek economy, and 80% of the economy of tourist destinations, like Crete or Rhodes, depends on foreign tourists. According to the general secretary of the Crete Hotels Association, 900,000 jobs are expected to be lost this summer due to the crisis.
The European Union is working to find a common strategy to lift existing travel restrictions. In the meantime, Austria wants to take an unusual path. According to Austrian Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger, despite the summer travel ban in Europe, all EU member states can open their borders to foreign tourists by mutual consent.
Supporting Austria’s proposal, the general secretary of the Crete Hotels Association said valuable time was already wasted, and an agreement between all EU countries would require more time. “Therefore, a bilateral agreement is the fastest and safest way.” The Austrian proposal is subject to strict adherence to the Sanitation and Hygiene Protocol.