“The tourist period starts on June 15, when the seasonal hotels can open again,” said Mitsotakis. It is an important stimulus for the economy, the prime minister emphasized. He added that international flights will gradually resume on July 1. “We will win the economic war just as we won the health struggle,” said the prime minister.
The country, which is still recovering from the debt crisis, is in dire need of tourism revenues. They directly and indirectly represent more than a fifth of its economy. According to the Ministry of Tourism, Greece had 33 million visitors and tourism revenues worth € 19 billion last year.
Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis said a list of countries to resume flights to Greece will be announced at the end of May. Bulgarians and Northern Europeans will be among the first visitors, the minister said, alongside Israelis and Cypriots.
Incoming travelers do not have to undergo virus tests or quarantine, but samples are taken in tourist areas, according to the minister. Theocharis added that 600 beds are reserved specifically for coronavirus care in the Greek islands.
Greece, with a population of approximately 11 million, has reported 2,850 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 166 deaths. That is a fraction compared to countries such as Italy, Spain and France.
Mitsotakis says his country’s rapid response to the virus is a “passport of security, credibility and health” to attract visitors.