FIRA | Of the island’s iconic Santorini, the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has ensured, Saturday, that Greece could now “welcome tourists” safely after the containment planetary, including the impact on tourism will be “significant”.
“The Greek tourist is back”, has he hammered, the day before the re-opening of the tourist season, in front of a gorgeous sunset on one of the islands most popular tourist attractions of Greece.
“Everything is ready,” repeated Mr. Mitsotakis, whose country has been relatively little affected by the coronavirus with 183 deaths.
“The rules of social distancing as appropriate” are in place for the return of tourists to Greece from around thirty countries by air, sea and land, from Monday.
“Our number one priority is the safety and health of visitors, added the head of government, who opened the season in grand style before an audience of journalists and members of the government.
After a stop at the hospital in Fira, where he again boasted of the “success” of his government “to defeat the first wave of the pandemic”, the prime minister visited the archaeological site of Akrotiri, “saluting” the cultural heritage incredibly different” from Greece, including Santorini is, according to him, representative.
But in a country where tourism is crucial to the economy, with nearly 25% of GDP, he admitted that “the real impact” of the confinement on the tourism sector would be “significant”.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis admitted that”a portion” only of the 33 million tourists that visited Greece last year would be at the rendezvous this summer.
“We try to save what we can to ensure that our sector remains in life (…) and that we survive what will obviously be a difficult summer”, he declared in front of the press.
“Everything will depend on how the tourists feel”, said the head of the government, but “if it continues on this path, we believe that we do not take risks”.
“I’m not looking to Greece to become the number one destination in Europe, I am looking at this that it becomes more safe”, he added.
Only the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki (north) will be re-opened to flights on Monday, while the regional airports, including Santorini, are expected to be in service on 1 July.
Before this date, any passenger who will be declared positive at the COVID-19 will have to submit to a period of solitary confinement of 14 days in a hotel at the expense of the Greek State.
The prime minister hopes to be able to remove “all restrictions” in July, and invites visitors to “extend the tourist season”, especially as the weather Greek allows us to “live outside”, which is less conducive to the transmission of the virus.
When asked about possible new outbreaks of the COVID-19 in Greece, it was considered that there was no”approach” risk-free. “We take a risk-extremely calculated,” he assured, stressing that a new total containment was “not an option”.