ATHENS -- Greece's islands are poised to be the first to restart the country's tourism industry once travel restrictions are lifted, while emphasising health safety and social distancing in a bid to attract more visitors.
Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio station, mayors from four island destinations invited Greek tourists to visit and enjoy unique and safe experiences on Serifos, Sifnos, Ios and Patmos, sending out a message of optimism and freedom from care, while noting that their health infrastructure has been upgraded to meet present needs.
Ios Mayor Gkikas Gkikas invited Greeks to return to the island and "leave behind the daily grind," noting that Ios is ready from a health-services standpoint since, among others, it has a negative pressure chamber and molecular sample analyser.
He also said that the island's 35 beaches made the observance of safe distances easy, as well as highlighting the work of volunteers to clean the beaches and seabed, and announcing that island businesses will offer additional days of holiday for those booking one-week packages.
Patmos Mayor Eleftherios Pentes highlighted the low prices currently available, starting from rooms at 30 euros a day, as well as the high level health service infrastructure, with the island having a fully-staffed health centre, a special isolation ward for possible Covid-19 cases and a negative pressure chamber. He said that Patmos has 1,800 beds and 2,000 rooms for rent.
Sifnos, known for its good food and its annual Nikolaos Tselementes gastronomy festival, is also targeting the Greek market this year, according to the island's mayor Maria Nadali, who also highlighted the high state of readiness of the island's healthcare infrastructure.
Serifos, with its 72 wild and unspoiled beaches, is the go-to destination for those wanting a tranquil holiday away from the crowds, while according to deputy mayor Stelios Livanios, prices this year are 15-20 pct lower than in 2019.