The Greek government welcomes the framework of guidelines and recommendations on tourism and transport presented by the European Commission on Wednesday, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said in a statement. He noted that the goal was "a gradual restoration, based on common rules and standards, of transport and tourism throughout the European Union."
"This summer will not be like the last one," he warned, however, adding that the government will unveil its own comprehensive plan for tourism in the next few days.
According to Petsas, it had not been self-evident that the EU would arrive at a common European framework and Greece had been first to raise the issue of tourism in Europe. "In cooperation with other countries and the European Commission, we arrived at today's framework, which respects one of the four fundamental freedoms on which the EU was built: the free movement of persons."
He noted that the gradual process of restoring tourism and transport will permit the fastest possible recovery of employment and economic activity on the continent. "Included in the framework unveiled today are many of our proposals. This framework includes proposals for hygiene and travel protocols, tracking and tracing tools, common financing instruments and a European-wide campaign to promote Europe as a global tourism destination," he added.
"The connecting link for the entire framework is the 'principle of non-discrimination'. On the basis of this principle, movement between countries and regions of the EU with similar epidemiological characteristics is facilitated, and not on the basis of geographical distance or means of transport," the government spokesperson said.
"In this direction, the European Commission has created a special web-page where European citizens and all interested parties can be informed about the epidemiological status of each country reliably and with transparency. It appears that Greece, thanks to its swift and efficient response to the coronavirus pandemic, is one of the countries with the lowest spread of the virus per 100,000 residents. And this is – yet another – factor for attracting tourists to our country," he added.
Petsas noted that the framework unveiled by the Commission on Wednesday helps instill confidence that transport will be safe in the unprecedented situation created by the pandemic.
"Even in this unprecedented situation, Greece is ready. In the next few days the government's overall plan for restarting tourism will be unveiled, guided by the need to protect public health and support employment. We should not delude ourselves, however. This summer will not be like the last one."