Published on : Monday, May 17, 2021
Greece has reopened to tourists and that’s truly good news for visitors!
“I’m very optimistic that everything will be fine in the end and we will survive financially,” said Karifilakis, a beach bar owner.
“I get positive messages from the hoteliers. People have the need to finally go out, have fun,” he said.
On Friday, Greece officially joined the race to attract tourists back, hoping that the sun, sand and sea will entice holidaymakers after months of lockdown, fetching the country a desperately needed revenue boost after 2020’s unhappy holiday season.
Before the pandemic, Falasarna beach was famous among visitors for its crowded big summer parties, which will not be possible again this summer.
“The most difficult part last year was when curfew was reimposed in the middle of the tourist season and we had to close our full bar at 11 pm right at the peak of the night,” said Karifilakis.
The pandemic greatly affected the Greek economy, which is heavily dependent on the tourism sector which accounts for more than 20 percent of GDP. Tourism revenue declined to 4.28 billion Euros ($5.0 billion) in 2020 from 18 billion Euros in 2019, with tourist arrivals going down 76.5 percent to just 7.4 million, according to the Greek Tourism Confederation Institute.
“We hope the season will manage to cover part of last season losses, when revenues were minimal,” said the mayor of Chania Panayiotis Simandirakis.
“Together with the health authorities, we organized seminars for the employees in the tourism sector on health protocols and we also hope, as the season progresses, restrictions around the world will be eased,” Simandirakis said.
With several restrictions still in place for travelers throughout Europe, Greek hoteliers are hopeful regarding the tourism sector to gather speed from late June or early July, alongside stronger vaccination figures.