Greek Tourism Minister interview with BBC (video) some countries people may be able to visit from July


Harris Theocharis: The goal is to open Greek tourism in July in some places



We aim to open at some point in July, Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis said in an interview with the BBC’s Central News bulletin at noon, stressing that “we are currently in the process of drafting the protocols to be submitted to the committee of experts and we hope they will be able to.” to give us their approval so that we can gradually open up. ” As he said, the opening will not be for all countries, but the effort is to open Greek tourism with bilateral communication and travel with some countries.

Introducing the interviewer, presenter Martine Croxall said that a member state of the EU that has successfully faced the crisis of the corona is Greece. It has taken timely measures to curb traffic and economic activity, and so far has reported just over 2,400 confirmed cases and 121 deaths in a population of 11 million. But the Greek economy relies heavily on tourism and is awaiting today’s EU Summit to get some assurances on how the summer tourist season will turn out this year.


First of all, remind us what approach Greece has taken in terms of restrictive measures, which seems to have reduced the number of victims.

It was a very aggressive approach, in a way, in the sense that we were forward-thinking. Our Prime Minister made early decisions not to hold carnival events before we even had victims and we moved very quickly in time to close the curve by closing schools, shops, etc. In combination with this there was a very precise and consistent education-information policy, which explained to the public why he had to implement what he was asked to do and how this would help smooth out the curve and achieve our goals. This was very successful and was entrusted to health professionals, who reassured the public.

What is the economic impact in Greece?

It is important and, as we successfully address the health side of the crisis, we are focusing on how the economy will gradually reopen, without the risk of a return to quarantine. Of course the effect is great. Tourism has stopped. We started the first two months of the year with growth of + 24%. This, of course, has stopped since March, and we hope to be able to implement health procedures, a common set of rules that will allow bilateral or pan-European levels to be able to travel or take some kind of vacation.

What kind of help and assurance do you need to hear from the EU and your partners at today’s Summit?

Of course, the Summit will focus on various issues. The budget package is very important because we are facing a crisis that is very acute. It is important to have adequate support tools. And the second thing I would personally like to hear is the recognition of the importance and the special case of the tourism sector. Europe is the most developed tourist destination in the world. We need to understand that, without restarting the tourism sector, we cannot see a steady economic restart. It is important to recognize this and see how we can help with this reboot.

How soon do you think you will be able to open your borders and welcome tourists again?

Of course, this is something that should be discussed with health professionals. We are in the process of setting up the protocols that will be submitted to the committee of experts and we hope that they will be able to give us their approval to open gradually. [.] We aim to be able to open sometime in July. Of course, this cannot be done for all countries, for all destinations, I acknowledge that, but at least we should try to open bilateral communication and travel with some countries.

Finally, the presenter, concluding the interview and thanking Mr. Theocharis, said: I am sure that there will be too many people willing to visit Greece, when it will be safe.


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