Greek tourism has been quarantined because of it coronavirus, with hoteliers and tour operators seeing a "freeze" in bookings and cancellations for the next two months, while the question remains what will happen in the summer.
Coronavirus cases and virus deaths are increasing daily worldwide, with Greece counting from Thursday (12/3) the first victim of the pandemic. Indicative of the situation in Europe is the decision of the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, to close all stores for two weeks throughout the country, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies.
Naturally, what is happening with the spread of the coronavirus could not but affect the tourism of Greece. In view of Easter, but also of the summer season, their concern hoteliers and the people in the industry are huge, seeing cancellations and "freezing" of the market.
The newsbeast.gr spoke with presidents from local hoteliers' associations, as well as agencies to see what the current picture is in tourism, following the latest developments with the coronavirus.
Zakynthos: 50% drop in bookings
Η Ζάκυνθος was one of the first prefectures (along with Achaia and Ilia) for which the Ministry of Health announced emergency measures. The island of June every year receives numerous tourists from all over the world and especially from Europe.
What is the situation in Zakynthos with the bookings? The president of Laganas Hoteliers, Christina Tetradi, initially stressed: "The first happened case in a large tourist destination in Greece to be confirmed in Zakynthos, however the positive thing is that we were the first to face the problem and its treatment was effective ".
"As for all of Greece, the situation is the same here," the president said afterwards and explained: "There is a stop of bookings, with the drop being at 50%". Of course, everything is fluid for the future, as no calculations can be made for cancellations and reductions in the tourism in the long run because no one knows what will happen to the virus tomorrow.
As for the days of Easter, Mrs. Tetradi stressed that everything will be judged at the last minute. Zakynthos also faced a particular problem with tourists from China, who visited the island during the winter. "The reduction in tourism by the Chinese reaches 80%", pointed out the president of Laganas Hoteliers.
Beyond that, for the summer, there are some reservations but it is still too early to get a picture with possible cancellations. Ms. Tetradi stressed that "there has been an increasing trend of 10% in bookings since the beginning of the year".
The optimistic messages for the tourism in Zakynthos had caused satisfaction, but the coronavirus turned the situation upside down as everything is "frozen".
Chania: Reservations are reduced and waiting
Crete is one of the islands that receive the most tourists, while the Greeks choose it for their holidays.
In a communication we had with the president of Hoteliers of Chania, Manolis Giannoulis, he informed us that at the moment there is a decrease in the number of reservations. At the same time, Mr. Giannoulis stressed that many of the hotels had already planned to start operating after Easter (19/4).
And in Chania Estimates for summer bookings can not be calculated, because everything will depend on the course of the coronavirus, with the result that everyone is waiting.
Santorini: 100% damage to Chinese tourists, big drop for April and May
One of the top tourist destinations is the impressive Santorini. People from all over the world arrive in Santorini all year round, while visitors from China are an important part of tourism on the island of Cyclades.
The President of Hoteliers Santorini, Antonis Iliopoulos, stated: "Chinese tourists' cancellations are 100%". Chinese tourists choose the island in the winter, but the coronavirus, few are in Santorini.
"We have 2,5 million tourists in Santorini, of which 200.000 are Chinese. That is, almost 10% of our tourism concerns the Chinese ", stressed Mr. Iliopoulos. The cancellations until May have "hit" the island, as well as the bookings. "60% in April, 30% in May", the president of Santorini Hoteliers tells us about the drop in bookings.
"Those hoteliers who have 2 or 3 hotels are forced to open only one hotel, placing all their reservations there", said Antonis Iliopoulos and added: "We have already lost the Catholic Easter (12/4), while for ours Easter (19/4) I do not think that anything will change and things are difficult ".
According to the president of Santorini Hoteliers, the bookings for the summer are stagnant, however, there are not many cancellations because no one knows what the data will be until then. «It is possible to cancel the reservation 30 days before without a "penalty", so people will have to wait until the last minute».
"Everything froze, no cruise moves"
The same picture exists in travel agencies, with the market "frozen" due to public concern about the spread of the coronavirus.
From Signature Travel Ms. Maria Alifragi stated: "Everything froze. March and April are over». As he pointed out, conference tourism also faces a problem, as conferences and other events are canceled.
"There is nothing left for the cruise", added Ms. Alifragi, while like the hoteliers, stressed that there is an expectation for the developments with the situation in the industry being catastrophic at the moment.
It makes sense, then, to have stagnation in view of summer as well "People only ask us for information about offers and nothing else". Where there are no cancellations - at least so far - are in the weddings that are planned for the summer and have been closed for the invited hotels in Attica.
EODY instructions for hotels and accommodation
Instructions for hotels and other accommodation were issued by EODY for the precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
How to define close contact with a case COVID-19 in the hotel area;
- Accommodation in the same room with a confirmed case COVID-19
- Immediate physical contact with a confirmed case COVID-19 (eg handshake)
- Face-to-face contact or stay indoors with a confirmed case COVID-19 at a distance of <2 meters and for a period> 15 minutes
- Unprotected contact with confirmed infectious secretions (eg vomiting).
Do hotel staff need to wear a mask?
The use of the mask is recommended:
- In people with symptoms of a respiratory infection (cough, sneezing, runny nose) to reduce the risk of transmission to others.
- In people who care for or accompany people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, so that they do not become infected themselves.
- Otherwise, general use of a mask in the workplace is not recommended.
When is it recommended that hotel staff stay away from work?
Hotel staff are advised to abstain from work when:
- She has symptoms of a respiratory infection
- For 14 days after close contact with a confirmed case COVID-19
What to do in case a hotel customer needs to be confined to his room (quarantine at the hotel for 1-14 days), because he had close contact with a confirmed case COVID-19;
- It is recommended to feed in the room and the person in isolation not to use the common areas of the hotel
- The hotel staff avoids entering the room unless there is a good reason
- When entering the room, the use of a simple surgical mask and gloves is recommended
- When leaving the room, used gloves and mask are discarded and hand hygiene is followed.
- It is recommended that care be taken to ensure that a limited number of staff come into contact with the quarantined person.
Care must be taken to ensure that the hotel immediately has sufficient consumables to prevent infections:
- soap and water or alcoholic hand cleaning solution
- simple surgical masks
- one-use gloves
- garbage bags
- surface cleaning fluids