Following the staggering drop in tourism revenue due to the pandemic, Greece is opening its borders to mass tourism tomorrow.
Even though Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is hopeful tourism will help the already financially depleted nation bounce back he acknowledged on Saturday numbers will be nowhere near last year’s 33 million visitors.
“We don’t know the real impact of (a truncated tourist season) on GDP,” the Prime Minister said, addressing foreign media from the island of Santorini, one of Greece’s most popular destinations.
“A lot will depend on whether people feel comfortable to travel and whether we can project Greece as a safe destination.”
When asked whether reopening the borders would jeopardise the containment of Covid-19 he said that “there is no risk-free approach…we are doing the best we can” promising strict guidelines on enforcing social distancing and other measures, such as mandatory wearing of masks in transport as well as by all catering personnel.
“I believe the worst (of the pandemic) is over and I don’t think a full lockdown will be necessary…in case of a localised outbreak, we have the medical and civil protection infrastructure in place to tackle it safely and efficiently,” Mr Mitsotakis added and went on to list all the benefits of visiting Greece, a country that has so far had 3,112 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 183 fatalities.
Meanwhile, according to data provided by Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos, during the past 4 days over 4,000 tests were conducted on all arriving passengers and only two tested positive, both asymptomatic.
From tomorrow Monday, the Thessaloniki Airport will also open and testing will vary depending on the profile of the country of origin. Passengers arriving from relatively safe destinations will be tested randomly, while, in other flights, all passengers will be tested.
“Hopefully in 2021, we’ll have a vaccine; 2021 will be a bumper year,” Mitsotakis said.
Also read: Airports to fully open in Greece from 1 July