Travel News Brief from Greece: April 14, 2021

Earlier this month Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) Secretary-General Dimitris Fragakis announced the country will spend 9 million euros in the promotion of Greece as an international travel destination and to extend the tourist season in collaboration with local communities. He also said Greece has been negotiating with airline companies and tour operators from abroad on agreements for cooperative advertising. Greece has announced the reopening of tourism starting May 14th

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis is in Moscow today to meet with state officials and representatives of travel agencies. Theoharis will attend a photography exhibition at ITAR-TASS news agency that honors the Year of Greece-Russia History today. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to meet with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Zarina Doguzova, and Dmitriy Zverev, vice-minister of transport. According to the news, the Greek tourism chief will also meet the Culture, Sports, Tourism and National Policy division in the Russian government Christofor Alexandrovich Konstantinidi, honorary consul of Greece in Sochi Dimitri Sarakianidis, and First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society Nikolay Kasimov. Other meetings involve Mouzenidis Travel, TEZ TOUR, Biblio Globus, Pegas, Ambotis, Coral, and TUI. Rumor has it that Theoharis will also meet with Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, whose company Norilsk Nickel currently owns the CSKA Moscow, basketball team.  

In a report at HospitalityNet, experts predict white-collar workers have saved their paychecks during the pandemic, and are ready to travel. The report from GlobalData claims not all travelers will be wanting a budget-friendly option for their next holiday. The data revealed also leads these experts to believe a “now or never” mentality that has vacationers thinking of staying longer and spending more this year just in case another situation like the COVID-19 pandemic reoccurs. The report claims “upsizing” may be the next important trend in travel. 

In vaccination news, Greek Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias just conducted a final inspection on a new mega-vaccination center that will open in Patras on Thursday. According to the news, all five vaccination mega-centers in the country – three in Athens, one in Thessaloniki, and the latest one in Patras – can perform a maximum of 1,650 inoculations per hour, or 22,000 per day, across a total of 412 booths. Across Europe, the vaccine rollout has stalled causing many to wonder if the Greek tourism start may be premature. In the last 24 hours, Greek health officials announced 3,089 new cases of COVID-19. The report also reveals that 81 more people have died in Greece from the coronavirus.

Finally, just as Greece was ready to give the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus jab to residents, Reuters reports Denmark and other nations either dropping or putting a halt to the vaccine that is similar vaccine from AstraZeneca over the risk of blood clotting. Greece and Italy put the J&J vaccine on hold right after it was announced that tens of thousands of doses were ready to be given to citizens. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said they believe the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks, but there will be further study for now. 

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