The safe and successful opening of Greek tourism, the arrival of 750,000 British tourists, the actions implemented in order for Greece to become a 12-month destination and the ministry’s international initiatives to facilitate future travel were the main points of the presentation made Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis during a press conference in the context of the World Travel Market (WTM), which this year was held online.
Theoharis referred to the success of the controls of incoming travellers with the innovative system “EVA”, noting that “in Greece we created ‘EVA’, the most innovative test distribution system, which improved the efficiency of the controls up to four times. With health as a top priority, even under the special circumstances imposed by COVID-19, Greece has proceeded with one of its strategic goals, which is to extend the tourist season.”
Theoharis, in his capacity as e-Chair of the World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Regional Commission for Europe, presented the political initiatives that Greece has undertaken recently. These are summarised in 5 proposals for a sustainable and resilient tourism sector in the COVID-19 era as follows:
1) Investments for the coronavirus vaccine.
2) Common Transportation Strategy. General and horizontal restrictions on free movement between countries with a similar epidemiological profile should be replaced by more targeted measures.
3) Stimulating demand, with incentives that will make citizens start traveling again.
4) Supporting the tourism industry by developing integrated recovery strategies for sectors affected by the crisis.
5) Coordination of all actions with a single adjustment strategy.
During his presentation, Theoharis placed special emphasis on the future of the sector, starting from 2021, emphasising that “this is a crucial year for the Greek tourism industry, but also for the Greeks in general.”
“We consider 2021 the year when tourism’s recovery begins,” he said.