As the Greek economy is more than 20% dependent on tourism to fill its coffers, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has high hopes to open the summer season starting July 1, 2020.
But opening the borders is not in the cards just yet, according to PM Mitsotakis, who told CNN:
“We are not more dependent [on foreign tourism] than, let’s say, Portugal or even, to a certain extent, Spain. All Southern [European] countries are heavily dependent on tourism.”
The Greek PM went on to describe the potential conditions that will allow foreigners to enter the country: prior testing for COVID-19, European health protocols, and monitoring. And he emphasized that the Greek vacation experience will be radically different from the previous years, given the rules of social distancing and only “provided that the Global epidemic is on the down path.”
“Best-case scenario is Greece is open for business July 1st, and we’re working towards that,” Mitsotakis told CNN. “But, of course, this involves airlines, because most people fly into Greece, and very strict, but also enforceable protocols.”
Prime Minister Mitsotakis believes that the hit on the tourist sector in Greece will be much worse if the summer season doesn’t open at all.
Perhaps the most important point made by PM Mitsotakis is a message of hope:
“It is going to be a very different summer, but we hope that the worse is behind us. What I keep as a legacy of this crisis is the sense of collective success, and I dare to use the word pride. Greeks haven’t been proud in a long, long time. For ten years, we were the punching bag of Europe.
[This crisis] changed our [perception] in terms of our self-confidence and also confidence in the state. I am not saying confidence in the government necessarily. But people trust the state. They trust the experts.”