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Greek Hotels See Slow 2021 Comeback During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Hilton Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS - Greece’s plans to reopen to tourists May 15, with COVID-19 health restrictions still in place, has made major hotel groups hopeful for a rebound, especially in the summer, after a 2020 wipeout.

The heads of six major hotel operators told Kathimerini they are optimistic for  a better year even if the numbers will still fall far short of a record run of consecutive years before the pandemic hit.

That could be aided if the European Union moves more quickly toward adopting Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ plan for COVID-19 vaccination certificates to give inoculated visitors faster tracks at airports and fewer health restrictions.

Many hotels are already preparing partial openings in March as visitors from some countries are already being allowed in although they face tests and quarantines, which will limit interest in coming to Greece.

Hotels hope for 40-50 percent of the 31.3 million visitors who came in 2019 during another boom year which brought in 18.7 billion euros ($22.3 billion,) tourism being the country’s biggest revenue engine.

There was a 76.5 percent drop in tourists and revenues in 2020 when international air traffic all but ground to a halt and saw people too afraid to fly, and many hard hit countries in lockdowns keeping people home.