Greece to reopen tourism season in June

Employees disinfect a sunbed on a beach at the coastal zone of Athens, Greece. Hundreds of organized beaches opened to the public on 16 May, though they are to operate subject to strict health and safety guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic, amid forecasts of a record heat wave. EPA-EFE/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

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The Greek tourist season will kick off next month, with international charter flights to popular locations resuming in July, the prime minster says.

“The tourism period begins on 15 June, when seasonal hotels can reopen,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised address on Wednesday.

“Let us make this summer the epilogue of the [Covid-19] crisis,” he added.

The coronavirus pandemic threatens to ruin Greece’s tourism industry, which is vital to the country’s economy.

The Greek announcement came as EU tourism ministers agreed to do “whatever it takes for the quick and full recovery of European tourism”.

As restrictions aimed at minimising the spread of the virus are gradually eased across Europe, Mr Mitsotakis said that Greece had shown by its handling of the crisis that it was a “passport of safety, credibility and health”.

Greece has been praised for its handling of the pandemic, recording 166 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,850 confirmed cases.

“We will win the economy war just as we won the health battle,” Mr Mitsotakis said.

To encourage tourism, Greece is also making travel cheaper by temporarily reducing value added tax (VAT) on all transport – flights, bus journeys and rail travel – to 13% from 24%, Mr Mitsotakis said.

 

Read more via BBC

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