Tourism restarts slowly in Greek island, but businesses seem optimistic

Published on : Thursday, July 1, 2021

The scenic seaside village of Kokkari on the Greek island of Samos is unusually quiet during this time of year. Sunbeds on its long pebble beach lie mostly empty, with customers in the shops only in meager numbers.


After a month since Greece officially reopened to international visitors, the uncertainty of travel during a pandemic is still rampant in Greece’s vital tourism industry.


Greece’s travel receipts declined more than 75% last year compared to 2019, dropping from 18.2 billion Euros to 4.3 billion Euros. The Greek government hopes to reach half the 2019 visitor level this year. However, the season’s start has been slow.


Business owners are gradually opening hotels, shops and restaurants, hoping that the season will pick up in summer, with vaccine drives accelerating and increase in travel confidence.


Greece became one of the first European Union countries to declare itself open to tourism this year, permitting visitors from mid-May with either a negative corona virus test, proof of vaccination or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19.

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