Greece’s tourism re-opening results in more infections but no economic gains – POLITICO

Reading Time: 2 minutes

POLITICO explains that with tourism making up more than a fifth of the country’s economic output and employing around a quarter of its workforce, the Greek government felt it had little choice but to take the calculated risk of opening up to visitors.

“But even the few foreign travellers who have begun to return have triggered new chains of coronavirus infections, while the economic benefits have so far been muted”, POLITICO adds.

In the first two weeks of July, around 530 new infections have been traced, with more than half coming from incoming visitors. That’s higher than the total number of cases reported in June and almost double May’s confirmed infections.

“We all knew, both we and our scientists and experts, that with the opening of our borders we would have a partial increase in cases,” said Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias last week. But, he added, “the economy and tourism must survive.”

So far, however, the economic boost has been disappointing. Hoteliers started with bookings at 30 percent, but that had now halved. “EasyJet resumed with six direct flights per week and this has dropped now to three,” he said. Hotels on the mainland are around a quarter full according to local hoteliers. In June, air passenger arrivals to Greece were down by 93 percent to just 588,186from nearly 8.4 million last year.

The summer tourism slump will impact other sectors. With visitor numbers down, farmers supplying local hotels, for example, have uprooted tomatoes and watermelons that they cannot sell.

 

eKathimerini / POLITICO

Once you're here...

%d bloggers like this: