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Tourism

Emptied Over COVID, Greece’s Mountain Resorts Want State Aid

ATHENS – Greece’s reaching out for year-round tourism has taken a cold blow with the spreading Omicron Variant of COVID-19 that has seen mountain resorts near empty after a tough holiday period in December.

Average occupancy rates have fallen to 12 percent after a 100 percent rate for a few days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, just before the New Democracy government added more restrictions to slow the pandemic.

verage occupancy rates during the winter season will be around 12%, despite a The mountain destination hoteliers’ union said it needs more government aid to avoid being shut down and that only a few regions had been luring enough people to benefit for a short time, said Kathimerini.

Occupancy rates at mountain destination hotels ranged from 15-55 percent over the holidays, while those in the northern region of Drama were at 35 percent, down from 85 percent in the record year of 2019.

In Imathia, which has two ski resorts, the occupancy rate was 34 percent, down from 95 percent in 2019 while in the popular winter spot of Kalavryta, the occupancy rate was 25 percent, from 55 percent during the holiday season and 100 percent in 2019.

In Western Macedonia, the occupancy rate was 35 percent during the holiday season, down from 85 percent in 2019, and in Korinthia the occupancy rate was 55 percent, down from 95 percent in 2019, the paper said.

The government said it would be giving more aid to workers affected by lockdowns and now economic slowdowns as well as some businesses but a range of others, including the performing arts, are also seeking aid.

The European Union has provided 32 billion euros ($36.36 billion) in COVID-19 aid to Greece but there’s been no accounting where it has gone after the government poured in 17.5 billion euros ($19.89 billion) in the lockdown year of 2020 when the pandemic struck.

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