Safety is the top priority for Greek authorities who are aiming to kick off the tourism season earlier this year imposing rigorous Covid-19 health protocols and taking the country’s good reputation a step further.
“The first priority for travelers this year will be safety. They want to travel to destinations that are safe, that guarantee quality, a sense of security and a unique tourist experience,” said Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, adding that booking data so far is encouraging.
Kikilias underlined the importance of Greece’s effective management of the Covid crisis in establishing the country’s reputation as a safe destination during the pandemic.
The figures reflect the confidence that both travelers and tourism stakeholders have in Greece, which has sent out a clear message in the last two years thanks to its serious response to this unprecedented public health crisis, said Kikilias in an interview this week to public broadcaster ERT.
Greece’s vaccination drive helps support tourism
A large part of Greece’s success has to do with its vaccination drive. “Vaccination is our only weapon out of this public health predicament,” he said. “And thanks to our far-reaching vaccination campaign we managed to rebrand Greece and support our tourism product”.
According to the minister, Greece’s management of the pandemic set it apart from rival countries, including Turkey, “which many believe is more competitive due to the drop in prices there”, he said.
Kikilias added that Greece continues to win over the crowds thanks to its unique tourist product and experiences.
The aim now, he said, is to extend the tourism season beyond November, which was achieved to a great extent in 2021.
“At the end of November and in the beginning of December we had travelers on Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, and in Attica, and we are here to support, in terms of campaigns and with essential measures and development tools, the Greek tourism sector, which is the locomotive of the Greek economy,” he said.
Indicatively, last October, bookings for the upcoming summer were up by 30 percent compared to October 2018 for the pre-Covid summer of 2019, he said.
Last year, Greece was granted the Global Champion Award for Covid-19 Crisis Management by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).