Photo Credit: @Jadene13 via Twenty20
Greece Prepares To Re-Open For 'High End' Tourists By Summer
One of the most popular summer travel destinations in the world is ready to open up this summer for tourists.
Leaders in Greece say they hope to reopen the country to tourists by July after officials say implementing an early lockdown helped to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within its borders.
Greece has seen a low number of COVID-19 cases compared to other countries in Europe. It has a population of roughly 10 million people with 2,632 cases of confirmed cases and 138 facilities at the time of this report.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told CNN that hotels will be open beginning June 1 and he wants to have everything up and running by July 1.
“Ideally we want more high-end tourists where we can actually respect social distancing,” Mitsotakis told CNN, adding that there would be COVID-19 testing at airports and temperature checks at hotels and local businesses.
Greece was one of the first countries in Europe to announce mitigation efforts to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Mitsotakis canceled events, college campuses, and closed restaurants as early as February.
A total lockdown was placed on March 23 and residents were required to register to leave their homes to go to the gym, pharmacy, and the supermarket.
The tourism industry has taken a big hit in Greece where it makes up 12 percent of the economy.
Passenger traffic plummeted by 90% for ferries, according to the Passenger Shipping Business Association, and by more than 50% percent for domestic and international flights in March, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.
“This season is not going to be like the other years, I would be a fool to believe that this could ever be the case. However, there is a lot that we can do to re-open the tourist economy, the flows,” said Harry Theocharis, Greece’s tourism minister.