Battle for tourism: The absence of the British is a key problem on many islands

A difficult year awaits many tourist areas of the country with the main expectations of income coming from the “white list” of tourism with the countries from which Greece will receive, at least in the first phase, visitors. 
The main difficulty stems from the fact that  there is not yet – due to increased epidemiological burdens – the prospect of visitors coming from traditional markets that have so far largely supported, even almost entirely, the tourist economy of some islands or regions. 
The  typical example is The British, who had chosen many Greek islands as their main holiday destination and on several occasions have been the most tourists so far compared to those who visit our country from other parts of the world . 
Depending on what happens to Italians or Scandinavians, but also other ethnicities,  some islands may not welcome much of the nationalities of last year’s visitors.

Skiathos: Eight out of ten tourists not on the “white list”

The blow to the tourism of Skiathos  and the Northern Sporades in general will be huge , since eight out of 10 tourists on the island each year come from countries, for which the gates of Greece will not open, at least in the first phase. 

In particular, six out of ten are British and the remaining two in 10 come from Italy and Scandinavia (mainly Sweden). The above was reported by the president of the hoteliers of Skiathos, Alekos Efstathiou, noting that at the moment there is no ready-made alternative , in order to cover, even in part, the gap.
The tourism of Skiathos depends to a large extent on the British, since six out of 10 of our visitors come from that country every year. A total of 80% of Northern Sporades tourists come from Britain, Italy and Scandinavia. This means that there is a very serious possibility that our islands will receive the first tourists in the in maybe July, as a result of which we will receive a much bigger blow than other tourist areas of the country.

The data is very worrying and fills all the professionals in the field with intense uncertainty. Worst of all, there is no other alternative. It is not easy to turn to other markets to fill the gap. We can, for example, turn to Israelis who love our country, but it is impossible for them to be a serious alternative, while the burden of filling the gap that will undoubtedly be created cannot be raised by domestic tourism either. The intention of all hoteliers is to open their businesses and keep all employees “, notes Mr. Efstathiou.

Zakynthos: Half of British tourists 

There are also concerns about tourism in Zakynthos, as, according to Giannis Filippopolitis , owner of one of the largest inbound tourism offices in the Ionian Sea, half of foreign tourists visiting the island each year are British, while the other half are Italian. and Scandinavians. “Last year, 50% of tourists in Zakynthos came from the United Kingdom, who are very good customers and are vacationing on our island again. The Italians do not see when they can start coming, while the situation regarding the Scandinavians is not at all clear. This means that 65% -70% of tourists in Zakynthos may not come this year.Essentially, we expect developments from mid-July or early August, and that’s where we place our hopes. On our island there is intense concern about what will happen. At the moment, it is too late to launch a campaign and attract tourists from other major markets, “said Filippopolitis.

The blow is huge in Crete as well

The blow will be huge in Crete as well , since according to the hotelier and travel agent, Lefteris Papakaliatis, the British market is the second most important for Crete after the German one. “Before August, the British will not come to our island and this is a huge blow to the tourism of Crete. Russian and Russian tourists are also important markets for our island, and I also don’t see any tourists coming before August. Western Crete, which is flooded with Scandinavians, will also face a huge problem “, notes Mr. Papakaliatis.

“Friend of life” by Balkans and Germans  

The first stage of the release of flights from abroad to the airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” and then the second that will concern flights to all airports will determine the evolution of this year’s tourist season. “Countries from the Balkans to the Baltics, such as Bulgaria, will be among the first to be able to restore interconnection,” said Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis during the government’s presentation on the tourism restart plan on Wednesday, 20 May.

According to him, “Northern Europe will be one of the first, if epidemiologically allowed, that our country will restore its relations, as well as with Germany, but also Israel, Cyprus and others.” Besides, before the end of May, the “white list” of Greece with the countries from which tourists will be able to come is expected to be published. This “white list”, according to what is known, will always be determined by the government in cooperation with the committee of epidemiologists, so that there is the greatest possible avoidance of health risk.

Waiting for Italy and France

According to secure information , it is expected that in the next 24 hours it will be clarified whether countries such as Italy and France, which annually maintain a significant part of the domestic tourist pie, will be included in this list. The latest reason is for infectious diseases specialists, who are called upon to decide whether the epidemiological data in Rome and Paris will be such that it will be safe for their citizens to move to our country after June 15. 

Correspondingly, Megaro Maximou and the Ministry of Tourism are compiling a negative list, consisting of countries with a heavy epidemiological burden, which makes the transition of their citizens to our country currently prohibitive. 


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