OPINION

Optimistic for the new tourist season, but vigilant

optimistic-for-the-new-tourist-season-but-vigilant

We are at the beginning of the second summer season amid a pandemic. This year the situation is better, in the sense that a significant proportion of the population has already been vaccinated and hundreds of thousands more are being vaccinated every week – unfortunately, one-third of the elderly, who are most at risk, remain reluctant – and many of the tourists who will visit the country will also have been vaccinated.

In addition, the good weather also remains an important ally, allowing for more and more activities to take place outdoors.

For their part, the citizens of Greece must show the necessary maturity and continue to follow all protection measures, even though this seems increasingly strange to many people. But it is not strange – it is necessary. It must be understood that no matter how much progress is made in vaccinations, nothing is over.

Although this year we are no longer the success story of last May, many foreign media still focus on positive elements, such as on the Covid-free Greek islands. Also, the decision of many American airlines to launch direct flights from US cities to Athens is extremely encouraging news.

Greece’s image, and consequently the course of its economy, will either be strengthened if everything is done correctly, or it will be tarnished if there is complacency and moves in the wrong direction. We are maintaining a delicate balance: A misstep can aggravate the situation, raise doubts, and hurt the positive narrative of the country. Besides, we must not forget that many foreign governments still designate Greece a “high-risk area.”

After the longest lockdown in all of Europe, it is reasonable to look forward to a return to some desired “normalcy,” but this must be done gradually and carefully. We must not rush, we must not get carried away, because we will pay dearly for a possible misstep.

The coming weeks are crucial and may prove critical. If we are not careful, we may cause great damage, and then the cost for a country that has placed high hopes on a good tourist season will be huge.