Tourism Minister Theoharis: ‘We are restarting the Greek summer and Greek tourism’

In a press conference held at the island of Santorini on Sunday, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis presented the domestic tourism voucher program for qualifying Greeks, an environment-friendly initiative at Santorini and the Visit Greece electronic application for mobile platforms.

Held one day after the Prime Minister’s ‘Greek Summer 2020′ Santorini press conference, Theoharis’ speech focused on the 30-million-euro-strong ‘Tourism For All’ voucher program, which concerns some 250.000 low-income Greek citizens who can enjoy up to a week’s subsidized holiday in many inland destinations.

The program aims to stimulate tourism for the benefit of businesses in the industry, said the minister, through the subsidized accommodation for a large number of guests, which is expected to boost “the liquidity of tourism companies with additional multiplier benefits for local economies,” he noted. One million stays are expected to be booked via this program.

The ‘Tourism For All’ program will run from July 15 to December 31 and can be applied for via TaxisNet, the government’s online tax registry.

Theoharis then presented the ‘Plastic-free Santorini’ campaign, which aims to do away with plastic and implement eco-friendly practices, with the support of the Tourism Ministry, the Thira Municipality, Lidl Hellas and the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation.

With a 700,000 euro support budget form Lidl Hellas, the campaign will run promos at key tourist points on the island and at Athens International Airport, whereas in its second phase – alongside Laskaridis Foundation – will promote educational programs at Santorini as well as direct interventions at beaches via a systematic and extensive action for the protection of coasts throughout Greece, as per the campaign’s broader scope.

The next initiative of the Tourism Ministry is Visit Greece, the Greek National Tourism Organization’s (GNTO) official application for portable electronic devices, with exclusive sponsorship by Eurobank and Mastercard, said Theoharis.

Key elements of the application are: the ability to create a personalized profile which in turn relays personalized push notifications to the user, the automatic detection of the user’s geographical location via satellite (the all-too familiar geo-location feature), proposals for points of hospitality, catering, attractions and local businesses.

Perhaps most importantly, another particularly useful feature of the Visit Greece app is that it is Covid-19-aware, as the user can be informed about everything that relates to Covid-19 local protective measures and health services, updated accordingly via the geo-location feature. It is also a multilingual application.

Visit Greece is inked to the Mastercard Priceless Cities program that offers travelers exclusive services and functional benefits to tourists and partner businesses, said the minister.

Referring to the recent coronavirus pandemic and the reopening of tourism, Theoharis said that “nothing has been left to chance as the government’s absolute priority is health safety, because protecting the health and lives of tourists and workers is in our hands.”

“Let’s prove that Greece – while remaining the most attractive tourist destination in the Mediterranean – is also one of the safest countries in the world,” he stressed.

Closing his presentation, Theoharis said “we are restarting the Greek summer and Greek tourism.”