Greece has unveiled a comprehensive plan to reopen travel and tourism starting on June 15. But you won’t be able to fly there just yet.
“The tourist season starts on June 15, the date when seasonal hotels may open for business,” the country’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said in an address to the nation on Wednesday. “And from July 1, direct flights from abroad to our tourist destinations will start gradually.”
Visitors will be required to undergo testing on arrival, and the country’s other health protocols and safety measures will continue to be enforced.
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“This is not to cast a shadow, however, over our bright sun or our country’s natural beauty,” he stated.
According to Mitsotakis, tourism sank to an “all-time low” in April and May, explaining that whatever is achieved for the rest of 2020 will be considered a gain.
The prime minister said that the primary objective regarding the reopening of travel and tourism is to protect the jobs of industry professionals and those who rely on it for their livelihood, stating that he wants to help them in preparing for “their big counter-attack in 2021.”
Mitsotakis also described that support programs for domestic tourism would also be unveiled soon as well.
The Government of Greece is also reducing value-added tax (VAT) on coffee products and non-alcoholic drinks, which will also apply for tickets to open-air cinemas in the summer.
“These are changes that revitalize consumption,” he explained. “They stimulate purchasing power, and are also increasing the turnover of tourism and restaurant professionals.”
Professionals in these industries will also see a rent reduction of 40% that will extend throughout the summer.
Manos Konsolas, the Deputy Minister of Tourism for Greece, echoed the sentiments expressed by the prime minister in a speech to the Committee on Production and Trade of the Parliament on Thursday.
He outlined that the three primary goals surrounding the reopening of tourism and travel are to gain what they can in terms of a year that has been “considered lost for tourism,” support workers and protect jobs, and strengthen businesses by providing liquidity.
This liquidity will be provided by reducing taxes, rent costs, and offering loans.
“Life and tourism must not and cannot be stopped,” Konsolas stated. “We can be safe without succumbing to fear but taking all necessary and necessary measures.”
Konsolas continued that the observance of health and safety measures will bolster Greece’s image as a safe tourist destination and that testing visitors on arrival will strengthen and prepare health structures in all tourist destinations while further serving to elaborate on “special business plans.”
Greece’s Ministry of Tourism is also set to pass two more bills regarding the “biggest reform ever in the field of tourism education and research,” and creating the necessary conditions for regional tourism development and the modification of the Ministry’s Regional Tourism Services into comprehensive tourism policy centers.
“Everything has been difficult. But we did well,” Prime Minister Mitsotakis concluded.
“That’s why I’m optimistic about the day after. Because my single goal still remains unchanged: that Greece may reserve her right to change and become ever better.”
Note: As border closures and travel restrictions begin to lift, health authorities are reminding individuals to monitor themselves for any signs of COVID-19. If you are feeling unwell, it is recommended you stay at home. If you do decide to travel, follow the health and safety precautions and protocols outlined by the departure and arrival locations you will be travelling to/from.