The year ahead will be defined by last-minute bookings due to the global Covid-19 pandemic conditions, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis during an Economist conference held at the Grand Resort Lagonissi this week, adding that the time was now to redefine priorities and to diversify the tourism product to meet the changing demands and needs.
Addressing the Economist’s “25th Roundtable with the Government of Greece” event, Theoharis refrained from making forecasts but said the bet this year was to “win in quality and not in quantity”, acknowledging that it was a difficult year but one of promise.
Theoharis reiterated that Greece was implementing the strictest health protocols ensuring the safety of travelers, tourism professionals and locals.
“We continue on the difficult path of responsible opening and compliance with health safety at the same time. We are optimistic not complacent”, said Theoharis stressing that actions taken are based on vaccination progress, social distancing measures and health protocols.
Expressing a reserved optimism, Theoharis cited booking data, new direct flights from the US as well as the fact that Greece was attracting more cruise travelers thanks to home-porting actions, adding that there appeared to be signs of an improved year compared to last. The minister went on to say that Greece was the top destination for American travelers this year.
Theoharis also welcomed the UK’s decision on Thursday to allow as of July 19 Britons to travel to Greece without having to face quarantine on return.
Referring to the Delta variant and its fast spread across Europe, Theoharis underlined the importance of being ready to adapt.
“The situation is dynamic and we need to adapt. Emphasis is always on the safety provided by our country. And it is this sense of security that keeps Greece’s ‘brand name’ strong. For us, quality is more important than quantity,” he concluded.
Theoharis said the government had a three-pronged strategy in place to cover the needs of the country’s opening to tourists which focuses on preparedness and immediate action when necessary, clear and consistent information, and global initiatives including Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ proposal for EU-wide vaccination certificate which was adopted by the European Commission and is in place today as the EU Digital Covid Certificate.