GREEK hotels are concerned that they could remain empty even after they reopen.
The country has been one of the most proactive in Europe in making plans to entice holidaymakers this summer, extending a welcome to the UK even as other countries announce plans to ban entry to Brits.
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They hope to welcome holidaymakers, including Brits, by July as the coronavirus curve begins to flatten.
President of Corfu’s hotel association Charalambos Voulgaris told local media the mainland and the islands were facing the “biggest crisis of a generation”.
He added that many of Corfu’s beaches lie empty, something he fears could continue even if tourists are to return by the summer.
He explained: “We are going to have very low occupancy rates. We don’t know if our hotels will open, when they will open, so we are right now on the brink of very hard times.”
Previous reports warn that 65 per cent of hotels could go bankrupt across Greece – a study by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels found that 65 percent of hoteliers say that they are “likely” (46.6 per cent) to go bankrupt, with 18.3 per cent saying it was “most likely”.
Other islands face similar fears, including Santorini, Kos, Zante, despite them managing to avoid coronavirus cases altogether.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, passenger traffic has dropped by 90 per cent for ferries, and 59 per cent for flights.
Greece is one of the few European destinations looking at opening the borders to international travellers as soon as the summer.
Last week, Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theoharis explained: “Our goal is for the season to begin in July and perhaps extend through October or November.
“Tour operators are hopeful and just waiting to see what the health safeguards, the new rules, will be.”
Last year, a record 34 million visitors headed to Greece, which brought in €18.2 billion, around 10-12 per cent of the economic output.
This is feared to be much lower this year after the country was forced to suspend flights and close their borders.
Holidaymakers are also likely to have to pass tests before they are allowed to jet away to their favourite Greek holiday spot.
When asked about whether they would ask people to take coronavirus tests before flying, Mr Theoharis said: “We’re discussing this with our epidemiologists.
“It is very likely that we will have some requirements before travelling, but of course this will be done so that everyone has a peace of mind when they travel that they will not come in contact with people who have the virus.
“By the time the season starts, which is going to be of course much later than the normal time, the health technology will have come up with even better solutions to those problems.”
“Better tests, more accurate and cheaper as well.”
How the health certificates will work in practice has yet to be decided but senior Greek officials suggested the documents may involve passengers being subject to Covid-19 blood tests before boarding planes.
Emirates began successfully administering rapid on-site blood tests at Dubai International Airport, the carrier’s home base, earlier this month and is now planning to expand the measure to a broader selection of flights.
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