FedHATTA, in a letter to the competent ministries, underlines the need to draw up a policy plan, ahead of the season, for Greek tourism in 2021 with clear, stable and rational health protection regulations for the travel industry. FedHATTA proposes four lines of action to ensure the smooth resumption and successful course of Greek tourism in 2021, in view of the pandemic.
The four axes proposed by FedHATTA are a precondition for Greece to welcome as many tourists as possible during the transitional year 2021, but will also serve to bolster the credibility of Destination Greece in the international tourism market, which will have a long-term positive impact.
1. Consistent policy and timely information
World tourism operates on a deferred basis. Foreign travel agencies and tour operators must know in advance the measures and protocols that will apply in the country, no matter how strict they are.
Surprises, relapses and spasmodic movements experienced during 2020 must not continue in 2021. It is essential to have clear, effective rules from the beginning of the tourist season. The severity of the rules is not a problem, but constant changes present a serious problem for the industry.
The competition from our neighboring countries will be great once travel reopens, and it is necessary for Greece to be ready with open borders, without exclusions, but with firm and clear rules.
2. Setting rational regulations
Unreasonable measures such as differences in the fullness of flights (100%), tour buses (65%) and museums (groups of up to 9 people), raise questions for international tourism professionals and tourists, while increasing the cost of services, which is a disincentive to choosing our country as a tourist destination.
It is worth noting that in 2020 this additional cost was covered by the Greek travel agencies and tour operators who essentially financed their loss.
It is necessary to have a “logic” in the measures, based on the safety of visitors and employees, but also the competitiveness of our country in the international tourist map.
3. Protection of tourism workers
Tour guides, escorts and bus drivers who come into daily contact with tourists should be vaccinated as a matter of priority. This in itself will be an advertisement of our country as a safe destination.
4. Certification of COVID measures throughout the tourism chain
Since September 2020, FedHATTA has highlighted the need to certify compliance with the required health measures in the entire tourism chain.
It is the best way to convince tourism professionals abroad that all tourism service providers in Greece comply with European standards for protection against Covid-19, and give them the confidence to send clients to Greece.
Our international partners are demanding such certification, and the competent state body can guarantee the transparency of the procedure.
The president of FedHATTA, Lysandros Tsilidis, stated: “In a period of intense economic uncertainty and in a transitional year for global tourism, Greek tourism must quickly develop effective and clear decisions in terms of health protections, in order to claim a high share of international tourism.
We need to send the message to the international markets that we are a safe destination and fully prepared to welcome visitors with certified health measures.
After all, tourism is a key vehicle for economic recovery in Greece.”