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Economy

Greece’s Post COVID-19 New Recovery Hopes Hinge on Tourism

ATHENS – Still hoping to salvage some sense of a summer season – depending on how many people might after COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdowns are lifted around the world – Greece's New Democracy is cobbling together plans to convince visitors that hotels and other facilities are safe.

The scheme is being worked out with the Health Ministry to insure strict hygiene protocols would be in place throughout the country as well as tourism areas, including sanitizing, social distancing and limiting customers in restaurants and other places.

Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis' office is almost ready to announce a package, said Kathimerini, with a team including Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis, State Minister Giorgos Gerapetris, and the Health Ministry's advisor on the COVID-19 response, University of Athens Professor and infectious diseases expert. Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras.

Tourism accounts for as much as 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 180.54 billion euros ($200.3 billion) and was the savior of the country during a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis as the biggest revenue engine.

But estimates now are that it could fall off as much as 70 percent and while Theoharis said he hopes tourism will resume in July, a month after year-round hotels will be allowed to reopen, that could be too late for resorts, with the added unknown factor being when international air traffic will fully resume.

The plan has four pillars, the paper said, including rules of operation for hotels and other facilities, as well as supporting employment, economic measures to bolster tourism-dependent areas as well as compensation.

Te Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) set the priorities and also being looked at is a reduction in the Value Added Tax (VAT) and waiving the income tax deposit for this year to prevent a total wipeout.

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Mission…to Alonnisos, a TNH Documentary

O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

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