By Alex Trelinski • 10 May 2020 • 15:39
UK Holidaymakers looking for a Mediterranean Summer break are eyeing up Greece and the Greek Islands, rather than Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca.
British travel agents are reporting a far greater recent interest in booking enquiries to Greece as opposed to Spain.
Travel agent Rian Rodber told the Euro Weekly News: “Sales to Spain have dropped by 43 per cent, although there is an increase to Greece of 32 per cent with Corfu up by 8 per cent.”
Mr Rodber added that he also believed that delays in parts of Spain reducing their lockdown measures had also played a part.
Meanwhile the Greek government has been doing everything possible to get tourism up and running as quickly as possible.
The plans are to get hotels and restaurants reopened to welcome domestic visitors from June 1, as the Greeks are running a phased return plan after their period of home isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.
But there are big differences with countries like Spain and Italy, who suffered badly during the Covid-19 crisis, and tourism is a massive plank in what the Greeks are doing.
Greece introduced one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe and stopped all travel immediately between all of its islands.
That meant that, for example, the popular holiday destination of Corfu had only recorded four Covid-19 cases as of last week.
The fact that Greek hospitals were ill-equipped to cope with a pandemic meant that the government took draconian action, but it appears to have paid off.
Low death rates and Covid-19 cases have put the country ahead of the game in looking to the future, as it puts a massive premium on its lucrative tourist industry.
The government has now launched its three-phased plan to reopen the islands to domestic workers, including those who work in the hospitality industry as seasonal summer workers.
Everything should be in place by June 1, but as a member of the European Union, Greece is part of the agreement that borders between European countries will remain closed for all non-essential travel until mid-June.
Nevertheless, it has already announced new safety rules for people wanting to travel there by ferry this summer, with Greek and foreign passengers having to fill in safety questionnaires before they are allowed to embark on a journey.
Masks will also have to be worn by everybody on ferries,
The Greek Tourism Minister, Haris Theoharis, has also announced a series of protocols for foreign tourists once the borders are reopened.
In order for a passenger to board a flight from abroad to Greece, they must have got a health certificate within the last 72 hours showing that they are not a carrier of Covid-19.
There will be no vacant seats on flights to, from or within Greece, so that air travel is economically viable.
Tourists will leave the country without any control, so that there will be no risk of being trapped in the country and put into quarantine.
The Ministry of Tourism will actually rent some accommodation in each tourist area of Greece that will function as a ‘quarantine hotel.’
Visitors who are found to be carriers of the coronavirus will be transferred there.
Special training in hygiene rules will be provided to hotel staff, and buffets will be banned, except in small hotels.
Sunbeds will also be placed within a safe distance to each other and will have a disposable cover for each swimmer.
The Greek measures shed a light on how seriously they quickly want tourism to return, and gives an insight as to why some UK holidaymakers feel the country might be worth looking at once foreign air travel returns and borders reopen.
Share this story
Subscribe to our Euro Weekly News alerts to get the latest stories into your inbox!
By signing up, you will create a Euro Weekly News account if you don’t already have one. Review our
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Download our media pack in either English or Spanish.