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Economy

Summer Slipping Away, Greece Hopes for Autumn Tourists Too

ΑΤΗΕΝS — While tourists have returned to Greece in greater numbers than expected, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, a record hot summer and wildfires, the plan for year-round arrivals is looking toward keeping them coming in September and October.

Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki, in an interview with the site Liberal.gr, said July showed a 70 percent rebound from the same month in 2019 that was another record year before the pandemic ended that in 2020.

August is expected to be even better but the New Democracy government, wanting an economic rebound, has aggressively been pushing tourism campaigns unlike previous years when it was a lackadaisical effort.

She said that tourism performance will be measured based on the last days of August as well as on activity in September and October, “which means that we must be vigilant” said GTP Headlines.

He said there are encouraging signs for the autumn even though Greece will only allow those who are fully vaccinated, have a negative PCR test or proof that they've recovered from the Coronavirus.

“There is a considerable improvement compared to 2020, while even compared to 2019, a landmark year for Greek tourism and the last pre-COVID season, the results, despite the difficulties, exceed expectations,” she said.

She attributed it to the country's vaccination program even though it has stalled at about 50 percent of the population, far short of the 70 percent that health officials said is needed to beat back the pandemic, that is resurging because of anti-vaxxers and those not wearing masks nor staying safe distances apart.

She said the performance “is the result of consistent efforts in the past, of Greece’s very good reputation, of the travelers who chose Greece in 2020 thanks to the enormous efforts of the people who welcomed them, the protocols, constant communication with all our partners at home and abroad, and to Greece’s active participation in international fora to address the challenges caused by the pandemic with proposals and specific solutions.”

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