Tourism Fading, Greece's New Lure: “More Than a Destination”

Αssociated Press

In this Sunday, June 28, 2020 photo, youths sits by the beach near Kardamyli, Greece, on the Peloponese Peninsula, some 270 kilometers southwest of Athens. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Likely too late for this summer, Greece's plans to attract tourists to help revive an economy almost halted by the COVID-19 pandemic and make the country a year-round attraction has a new slogan: Greece. More Than a Destination.”

The 42-second video, associating positive emotions with experiences and attractions of specific destinations in Greece, will appear in six languages and is the work of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) in conjunction with the country's largest air carrier, Aegean Airlines, is struggling so much it is unlawfully denying refunds to customers whose flights were canceled.

The video features sparkling images of Greek islands, including Crete, Kythira, Santorini and Rhodes, advising travelers to think of a range of emotions that could be satisfied, right up to euphoria.

Although many travelers are especially staying away from cruise ships like the plague, the vessels a hot spot breeding ground for the virus when it broke out, Greece will reopen cruise travel as of Aug. 1 Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis has confirmed.

Cruise ships will be allowed to dock at the ports of Piraeus, Rhodos, Iraklio, Volos, Corfu and Katakolo and can visit any other Greek port on their itinerary, said Kathimerini, subject to review if tourists, as they've done on flights, bring the virus.

Theocharis said cruise travel will abide with all the health and safety protocols set by the European Union to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 although there weren't any reports of how many people were expected to be making travel plans in August.

Theocharis said, however, there's interest from tourists in countries such as the United States, Russia and Israel, reported by travel agencies, Greece anxiously needing more visitors to prop up the economy.

Tourism accounts for as much as 18-20 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 170.73 billion euros ($200.3 billion) with 33 million travelers in 2019 spending 19 billion euros ($22.29 billion) in much-needed revenues.

Tourism employs about 700,000 people but there are worries the revenues could fall as much as 70 percent with people afraid to travel and hotels having to put in place some expensive health protocols.