Tourism is one of the most affected sectors of the EU economy. It is known that this industry provides more than 20 percent of Greece’s GDP and is critical for your country. Counted if in Athens the scale suffered by the Greek tourist industry losses due to the pandemic COVID-19?
Ekaterini Nassica: At the moment we are moving through uncharted territory, which was created by pandemic coronavirus. Nobody can predict how it will develop the current tourist season.
According to our estimates, Greece will host this year 5 million tourists. Under the most favorable scenario, this figure will rise to 10 million. Let me remind you that in 2019, Greece was visited by 34 million foreign tourists. However, we emphasize that public health, including the health of our guests is and will remain a top priority in the current period.
Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis recently announced the launch of a national campaign called “Restart tourism”. Athens intend to do given the fact that the demand for tourist services fell sharply because of the continued fear surrounding the epidemic of the coronavirus?
Ekaterini Nassica: this year the summer more. We become different. We showed that we were able to overcome the difficulties and start all over again. Our responsibility is to send a signal of hope and optimism. And our message to the world that the Greek summer is not only sun and sea. Rather, it is a state of mind and soul, which passes through all times and seasons. It’s the emotion which you feel with your favorite people, emotions, nature and inspiration. In the end, it’s our recipe of life always and everywhere.
And we will try to bring back tourism in Greece to life in a secure, coordinated and effective mode. Ellada partially resumed international flights from 15 June 2020. Our decision is based on statistics provided by the European institutions and agencies with emphasis on protecting the health of our citizens.
to this end, we constantly evaluate the situation on the ground and ready to intervene if necessary, in full compliance with the recommendations of relevant experts. We have also introduced strict rules of hygiene to ensure a healthy environment. At the same time we are strengthening our national health system and its agencies in all tourist destinations, including the Islands. Our priority is ensuring guests the necessary medical services if the need arises. A holiday in Greece needs to be free from worries about health, but never irresponsible.
Our goal is to strengthen health facilities in the tourism cluster, in close consultation with the basicsgovernmental professional bodies, both in Greece and in the international community. Again, that special attention is paid to strengthening the capacity of the health system in the popular destinations. This includes the conduct of tests, appointment of coordinators and doctors to hotels and resorts.
When, in your opinion, the Russians will be able to go for the summer 2020 in Hellas?
Ekaterini Nassica: Our goal is to provide the gradual opening up of Greece to international tourism and to avoid the return of the pandemic, which poses a risk of re-introduction of restrictive measures by the Greek government. Russia is our distant neighbor, the Russian tourists love Greece and the Greeks are waiting for them. Therefore, Russia cannot be excluded from our plans. We hope soon to be able to accept tourists from Russia this summer. And expected that the Russian side will soon resume its international flights to and from Greece.
How will the procedure for obtaining Greek visa for Russian citizens who are not EU residents and if they need to provide medical certificates on absence of infection COVID-19?
Ekaterini Nassica: the Procedure of applying for a visa will remain the same. New recommendations might be updated later, as of 1 July. For example, on the order of testing points of entry.
the Greek Government announced that it was willing to cover the costs of the stay in Greece of foreigners, who upon arrival in Your country will be identified coronavirus. Where will be placed such people?
Ekaterini Nassica: Those who have when testing at airports is found positive for COVID-19, knead for accommodation at the quarantine period in hotels. Their list is determined by the General Secretariat for the protection of citizens in the Government of Greece.
In the Western press argued that in the current tourist season, prices will fall. Are these predictions correspond to reality and whether the tourists to wait for discounts?
Ekaterini Nassica: Although we can not predict the reaction of the private sector, exclude reduction of prices in case of excess of supply over demand is impossible.