Greece: “The season is lost, we hope for 2021”
Greece lives from tourism; Last year more than 33 million tourists came. Even though Athens has mastered the pandemic so far, holidaymakers are avoiding the country. Hopes now rest on the coming season – and the vaccine.
It is the end of July, the sun is shining on Naxos, the sea is turquoise blue, but the beach is relatively empty. “They are the first German guests we have this year,” says the waiter at the “Naxion on the Beach” hotel. The hotel would normally be fully booked now. Many Germans, French, English would now be here. But this year everything is different.
Greece is hit hard by the Corona crisis. Athens has coped well with the pandemic so far: there have only been a good 4,300 cases of infection so far, 203 people have died in connection with Covid-19. At the beginning of June, Greece’s Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis on tv said “We look forward to our friends from Germany.” And added: “German vacationers are probably safer here than in Germany.” But even weeks later many German or other foreign holidaymakers are neither on the mainland of Greece nor on the islands.Greece: “The season is lost, we hope for 2021”
800,000 Greeks live from tourism
On the one hand, because there are only a few direct flights. The introduction of QR codes also creates uncertainty. The announcement that sporadic corona tests could be carried out at the airports also discourages some holidaymakers. In fact, the QR code is only used to track cases of infection. Applying for it only takes five minutes. It will then be sent to you a few hours before arrival.
“It wasn’t a problem for us,” says Katharina Baumann from Graz. She has been coming here with her family for years. Also this year there was no question for her to spend her vacation here. “It was more about when we can go back to Greece.” Only those who come from high-risk countries are tested – Germany and Austria are not included.
Nevertheless, foreign guests stay away. And that ensures the real crisis, the economic crisis. More than 800,000 Greeks live from tourism. Last year the country had more than 33 million tourists – a record. It should actually be broken again this year. But then Corona came.
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