GR US

Wary, Most Greeks Skipping Vacations This COVID-19 Year

Αssociated Press

A man sits on the dock at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, on Monday, May 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

To little surprise, with tourists staying away from Greece despite its record of being relatively safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, only one in three Greeks is planning any kind of vacation in 2020.

That undercuts hopes that domestic tourism could make up for some of the severe losses from international tourism that had had been projected to fall as much as 70 percent this year after a record run of consecutive years.

The numbers are bolstered during the peak summer season but Greece opened its borders in staggered phases in July and signs show far fewer numbers than expected with people shunning international travel out of fear of the Coronavirus.

The disappointing numbers for domestic tourism were shown in a survey by the  Association of Business and Retail Sales of Greece (SELPE) said Kathimerini, the poll done in coordination with the ELTRUN laboratory of electronic trade of the Athens University for Economics and Business.

That showed just 14 percent of Greeks will holiday as usual, while 18% said they will go on a shorter vacation because of how hard hit economically they were by the pandemic that closed businesses up to 10 weeks and kept people mostly at home.

Some 44% said they're not thinking of a vacation this year, waiting to see how the COVID-19 danger plays out with signs cases are rising slowly again, brought by tourists, after the lockdown held down the number of cases and fatalities.

The pandemic also brought a major shift in lifestyle as people became accustomed to avoiding public gathering places such as supermarkets, where requirements to wear masks are being ignored or defied.

One in two consumers buy products with price being their main criterion, with only 23% citing quality as the main factor driving their choices. And 10 percent said  hygiene and safety is a priority when they go shopping, and only 6% buy with the ease in shopping in mind.