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Greek tourism ‘starting from scratch’ this summer, says gov’t spokesman

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With the Greek government working on a plan to salvage the tourism season later this summer, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the country is “starting from scratch.”

“Whatever we gain will be a success. And we will do everything we can to get a bigger piece of a much smaller tourist pie,” he said at a regular press briefing on Monday.

The government proposal to revive the sector after the closures announced to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the country is expected to be presented in the following days, he said.

“Given the importance of tourism and the catering sector for the country's economy, especially during the second half of the year, our plan will cover a three-pronged strategy: employment, taxation, liquidity,” Petsas explained.

But he said people should be “under no illusions” about tourism revenue this season.

“This summer will not be like last year. And it shouldn't be compared to that. Because we shut down the economy and stayed home to deal with the pandemic. To stay healthy. And we voluntarily sacrificed a part of our well-being to achieve it,” he said.

Last year, Greece received a record 33 million tourists during its extended season.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Thursday that the sector will reopen for business by July 1.

Over the weekend, Greeks flocked to the seaside but beach clubs operated below capacity under health and social distancing rules.

Tourism in the country accounts for about 20 percent of Greek GDP.