NEWS

PM says EU must decide on health protocols for tourism to restart

pm-says-eu-must-decide-on-health-protocols-for-tourism-to-restart

The European Union needs to decide on new health protocols that will allow tourists to travel again, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview with CNN aired on Monday.

Asked about tourism, which makes up about 18 percent of the country’s economy, he said that in the “best-case scenario,” Greece would be to open on July 1, even though the exact date also depends on the airlines and the implementation of strict health protocols in foreign flights.

“All southern countries are heavily dependent on tourism. The real question is will we be able to have tourists come in the later parts of the summer,” he said.

Asked whether this will be possible, he responded: “Only if we agree to very specific protocols. Hopefully at a European level.”

This could involve people getting tested before they fly out and then they are carefully monitored once they arrive, either with an antibody or a PCR test.

“Tourism experience this summer may be slightly different from what you’ve had in previous years, with more social distancing, maybe no bars open but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path,” he explained, noting that a lot will depend on what airlines will do.

Asked about the impact the coronavirus on the country’s economy, he said that current forecasts place the contraction at around 10 percent.

Mitsotakis said that the success of the first phase of containing the Covid-19 pandemic in Greece and this recognition internationally is a source of pride.

“What I keep as a legacy is this sense of collective success and I dare to use the word pride.”