EU countries will have to develop new tourist rules in connection with the coronavirus. It’s already clear that the season will be shorter than usually, and its usual features - the charters flying up one after another, the crowded airports, crowded beaches and buffets - we will not see in the summer of 2020. What to expect from European resorts this summer, Greek in particular, writes The Guardian.
Today, EU tourism ministers are negotiating to determine what the tourist season will be like in the post-coronavirus era. Occupational health and safety measures, including “COVID-19 immunity certificates”, occupy a special place on the agenda. According to the Minister of Tourism of Greece, Harry Theoharis: “We must develop new rules for hotels, new rules for beaches, new rules for pools, new rules for breakfast buffet, new rules for tourist buses.
If we allow travel this year, everything must be done in accordance with the specific new rules. I will insist on reaching an agreement on a common set of EU rules. They are necessary if we want to transport people from one country to another. And these temporary rules should make economic sense: if the flight is safe, only if there are no more than 10 passengers in the cabin, it is obvious that there will be no flight at all. ”
Global tourism is one of those industries that has been hit hardest by travel bans and closed borders. In Greece, where tourism accounts for 20% of GDP and provides every fifth job, the economy is already suffering serious losses. Last year, the country set a record by hosting 33 million tourists - three times more than the entire population of the country. The tourist boom brought unprecedented income and contributed to the revival of the economy, which has been in decline for almost ten years. This time, experts predict, the number of tourists can be reduced by more than two-thirds, and 65% of hoteliers can declare bankruptcy.
The natural desire to save the industry is confronted with fears about a new outbreak. Due to the stringent restrictions introduced to contain the coronavirus at an early stage, Greece suffered from the coronavirus almost the least in the EU: on Monday morning there were a little more than 2500 infections and 130 deaths in the country. Now the country is ready to weaken isolation measures, but everyone understands the danger that too drastic removal of travel restrictions can entail. The favorable situation with coronavirus in Greece is a serious competitive advantage, and the country does not want to lose it.
Most likely, the tourist season will open this year in July - later than usual, but in time for the hottest months that bring the most income. By this time, it will be necessary to determine the new rules, which will especially affect large hotels: how many people can be in the pool at the same time, are general buffets permissible, what if someone gets sick? Industry experts do not exclude that in the event of a suspension of air traffic, traditional flows from the UK, Germany and France will not reach Greece this year, and the majority will be tourists from Eastern and Central Europe who are ready to come by car. If the aircraft will fly, it is likely that passengers will undergo temperature measurement and pre-flight blood tests.