As we get closer to April and preparations for the tourist season are picking up steam, an important respite for the strained Greek economy, the government is correct in exhibiting an aura of optimism.
The image of Greece’s successful management of the crisis last spring, as well as the relatively positive assessment of the following summer, is etched in the minds of many foreigners. We can invest in this optimistic feeling, despite the negative developments that have been observed lately.
This positive narrative must be what is projected abroad, even if domestically the government is, partly justifiably, reproached for mistakes and missteps in handling the pandemic. Additionally, the vaccination drive is ongoing, even if not at a rate that we would like. Let us contain any criticism of the government within Greece.
Any wrong choices and decisions can be debated by political parties and institutions. Vociferously. But this internal confrontation must not be allowed to impact Greece’s national goal, which cannot be anything but a successful tourist season. Obviously, this is more than just hotels, passenger ships and airplanes, but includes the entirety of the hospitality sector, and the retail sector. The benefits for Greece will not have an ideological or party prefix.
The message to travel agents and the wider tourist audience abroad must point out that vaccinations are being carried out in a satisfactory manner, that the country’s exceptional weather remains an important ally, and that the summer of 2021 in Greece promises to be better for everyone.
We should communicate that a lot of our smaller islands being advertised as Covid-free – like Fournoi, Halki, Symi, Ereikousa, and tens of others which have a population of less than 1,000 people – have already completed all necessary vaccinations. As a result, they are not only beautiful but also a completely safe destination for all.
The island of Kastellorizo is also one of these islands. It is the first island where the entirety of the population – no more than 500 inhabitants – have been vaccinated and which, for more reasons than one, must be promoted as one of the Greek islands that foreign tourists must visit, and this year especially.