Mayors express their optimism but also their anxiety about the tourist traffic and the course of the coronation.
The announcement of the lifting of the ban on travel to and from the islands, with the mayors in Corfu, Paxos and Lefkada being ready for the resumption of tourism, put the machines ahead.
In Corfu the crews of the municipality are in orgasm of work. At night, interventions are made for the beautification, cleaning and disinfection of the city of Corfu, while the works on the road network are continuous. There are also a number of voluntary efforts of cultural associations that have taken action to clean up the beaches, contributing substantially to the projects carried out by the respective three municipalities of the island.
“On Monday, Corfu opens its doors again and at the same time opens to the rest of the world. Together we managed to have a very good result. The health treatment of the pandemic in Corfu was successful with the help of all citizens. We want to continue in the same way. Instead of fear, we propose responsibility and adherence to all measures to protect public health. The restart of our tourism is essential for the survival of businesses and job retention. It’s the next bet. However, life will continue without any discounts on public health issues “, said, among others, to APE-MPE the mayor of Central Corfu and Diapontia islands Meropi of Hydra.
However, the free movement in the islands from Monday also causes conflicting feelings and anxiety in the mayors of the islands, with the mayor of Paxos not hiding his disappointment for the “lost” tourist season, as he claims, in contrast to the mayor of Lefkada who is very optimistic and hopes for the island’s economic recovery in domestic tourism.
“Free movement in the islands means for the Paxos” acrobatics “, says the mayor Spyros Vlachopoulos to APE-MPE.
“We have to balance between the anxiety of limiting the virus and the need to secure part of the income from the tourist season, which has been lost by 2/3. At the same time, the ferry itineraries of Igoumenitsa Paxos have not yet been subsidized and the two itineraries that are being implemented this week are not enough. We should have at least one route a day from Igoumenitsa “, points out Mr. Vlachopoulos.
As for the precautionary measures taken on the island on the occasion of the coronavirus epidemic, it is said that they managed to keep it away from the epidemic, as no case was confirmed.
Absolutely optimistic about the course of the tourist season, after the free movement in the islands, the mayor of Lefkada, Charalambos Kalos, appears, who “invests”, as he characteristically states in APE-MPE, in domestic tourism.
“Lefkada will stand with claims this year on the tourist map. Our connection by road with mainland Greece, gives us a comparative advantage over the rest of the Ionian Islands, with the cancellations from domestic tourism being minimal for the summer months “points out the mayor of Lefkada.
Regarding tourists from abroad, there is, as Mr. Kalos explains, “moderate optimism”, since everything depends on the schedule of flights that will start.
Regarding the protection measures that have already been taken, the mayor emphasizes that “all the professionals will follow the instructions of EODY, as they have been observed until today, keeping the island at a low risk level”.
Zakynthos – Kefalonia
“Breath” for the local economies is the opening of the routes to the Ionian Islands from the mainland, with the island’s businessmen ready to welcome visitors from all over Greece.
So far, the routes from Kyllini to Zakynthos and Kefalonia remain two days, due to the very low demand for tickets, due to the quarantine. According to the representative of the shipping company Levante Ferries, Giannis Plarinos, “the itineraries are expected to increase gradually from June 1, always taking all the necessary measures to protect our passengers, observing all the rules of hygiene on our ships.”
On the issue of free travel to Zakynthos, the mayor of the island, Nikitas Aretakis, spoke to APE – BPE, who stated that “in the part of the economy, free travel is very important as we are an island that lives from tourism but will Very careful inspections must be carried out on visitors and all necessary protection measures taken by the Ministry of Health must be taken. In Zakynthos, we did well with the crown despite the initial incidents we had on the island. The people fully complied with the instructions and so we did not have more cases and deaths. ”
Regarding the other Ionian island of Kefalonia, the mayor of Argostoli, Theofilos Michalatos, spoke to APE – MPE, noting that “it is very important to reopen the routes and to have more arrivals to the ports of the island. We are an island where 70% of our GDP comes from tourism, we must restart the economy and tourism because otherwise we will have a very difficult winter ahead of us but always guided by the instructions of EODY “.
The residents of the islands of the Dodecanese express the need to shield the islands in order to deal with any health problems, on the occasion of the fact that as of Monday, travel to the islands that have been banned for the last time is now allowed. More cautious are the residents of the small islands, who managed to remain untouched by the coroner, while the residents of the larger islands hope that from Monday a step will be taken to restart tourism, which is the driving force of local economies.
“I think that the islands should be gradually opened with strict implementation of health protocols and shielding of the islands,” Halkis Mayor Angelos Fraggakis told APE-MPE, stressing that the local community is also “divided”. On the one hand, the movements must be allowed so that the people can work and on the other hand, the inhabitants of the islands, most of whom belong to the vulnerable groups of the population, must be protected, says the mayor of Halki.
Similar views are expressed by residents of most of the Dodecanese islands, who believe, however, that travel to and from the islands should not be allowed without the necessary protection measures being set aside.
For the same issue, a letter to the Minister of Shipping, Giannis Plakiotakis, was sent by the mayor of Symi, Lefteris Papakalodoukas, submitting his proposal to stimulate tourist traffic in the summer months in the small islands, since the bar for this season has fallen sharply.
Mr. Papakalodoukas calls for the reduction of ferry tickets by 50% for the islands of the barren line, as he considers that in this way a significant incentive is given to potential visitors from the rest of Greece, helping in practice to stimulate domestic tourism. of the local economy and beyond.
“This will encourage many to travel to our islands, as the motivation will be very attractive. For example, if someone has to travel by ship from Piraeus – Symi – Piraeus, instead of the amount of 120 euros that costs about the ticket, they will pay 60 euros. Imagine the cost is even lower when families travel. ” characteristically reports the mayor of Symi.
The immediate, full staffing and operation of the Intensive Care Unit (MAF) at Kos Hospital is requested by the Mayor Theodosis Nikitaras from the Minister of Health Vassilis Kikilias, with the aim of the health shielding of Kos and its safe restart. tourism economy.
He even informs that the municipality of Kos intends to cover for two years the salary costs of the staff that will be hired for the operation of the Increased Care Unit.
“Citizens stayed home, obeying the laws and instructions of the State. Now they demand from all of us, within the framework of our responsibilities, to perform our duty and to effectively protect the public health and the tourist miracle of Kos, which they built with the efforts of a lifetime. ” Among other things, the mayor of Kos states in his letter to the Minister of Health.
Their optimism that the tourist year will not be lost, but with the coordinated efforts of all, will leave a positive mark, the lords of the local government in the Sporades, together with the businessmen active in the islands, will start their own battle on Monday, but on uncharted islands.
Hoteliers, restaurants and professionals in general, together with the municipalities, are expecting from tomorrow Monday, May 25, the “opening” of the islands, the free movement and the appearance of the first “non-locals” on their islands.
Speaking to APE-MPE, the mayors of Skiathos Thodoris Tzoumas, Skopelos Stamatis Perissis and Alonissos Petros Vafinis are preparing to “swim in the deep” and are determined to allocate money for medical equipment, special equipment, activation and even treatment which will be able to transport each patient with covid-19 to the large hospitals of Volos or Larissa and of course the observance of every necessary, but also safe measure, to avoid cases of coronary heart disease.
The fullness of the ships from the port of Volos, in the first period will be at 50%, but then they will increase if everything goes well and then the itineraries from Volos will also increase. However, the opening of the airport of Skiathos “Alexandros Papadiamantis” for direct flights from abroad that will come from safe epidemiological countries will be decisive for all.
The “green light” is also expected by the hoteliers who are already preparing for the gradual opening of the large and small units, with the messages being optimistic since several stores have opened in Skiathos on Papadiamantis pedestrian street to give the first summer tone to the tourist flagship product in the Sporades.
The mayors of Skiathos and Skopelos, stressed that the beaches in Koukounaries and Maratha-Skiathos Pallas in Skiathos, but also in Andrina of Skopelos managed this year to take the blue flag and wait for the people to enjoy their unique Greek summers in the famous islands.
“Restoration of the order of things that was so disturbed by the measures against the pandemic” characterizes the release of the ferry movements to and from the islands from next Monday, May 25, the governor of the northern Aegean, Costas Mountzouris.
As he emphasizes, “in essence, this is a restoration of the country’s territorial continuity, a fact that restores the smooth flow of people and products.”
Panagiotis Hatzikyriakos, president of the Association of Tourist, Travel and Maritime Agencies of Lesvos, notes that the results of the release of the ferry movements “will be judged by how the societies will function in relation to it. He also notes that we are all looking to find our footing after the crisis caused by the pandemic. This will determine whether the routes that connect Lesvos and Chios with mainland Greece and which remain stuck at three a week with the possibility of transporting 50% of the transport protocols will increase. And of course the age and what that entails, of the ships that serve the line, will also judge the contribution of the release of coastal movements to normalcy with the prospect of development “.
The central shipping agent of Chios, Theodoros Michalakis, characterizes the event as “a breath of fresh air for the islands”. “We hope to gradually overcome any issues that have arisen and return to our normalcy,” he said.
Finally, the president of the Hotel Owners Association of Lesvos, Dimitris Vatis, called on the occasion of the release of the ferry movements “the islanders to support their neighboring islands this year” while noting that “the local government can and must help in intra-island promotion”.