Greece is aiming to reopen one of the last parts of its tourism sector that have so far remained closed – namely cruise ships. Up until now, they have remained as one of the last vestiges of the lockdown and the restrictions concerning the country’s tourism sector that were imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet after spectacular handling of the outbreak and in an effort to prop up the struggling local tourism sector, Greece’s Ministry of Tourism has announced that cruise ships will finally be reallowed to operate starting 1 August.
Of course, no such decision comes without a few strings attached – especially when it concerns travel, tourists and the ever-present threat of a 2nd wave of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Tourism’s current plans stipulate that any cruise ships must make their first docking at one of 6 predetermined ports – at Piraeus, Rhodes, Heraklion, Volos, Corfu or at Katakolo.
After that, the vessels will be allowed to move about freely and dock wherever they please, so long as the locations are included in their itinerary. Of course, even these extraordinary measures are subject to change should the epidemiological situation throughout Greece worsen and demand a more robust response or for the further curtailing of freedoms and the reimpositions of lockdown restrictions.
As part of the Ministry’s announcement, authorities also encouraged tour operators to market Greece as not only a summer destination – instead stating that this year, the holiday season will extend until the end of 2020. The idea for Greece to become a year-round tourist destination has been in the works for months now and is part of the government’s response to the unfolding coronavirus crisis.
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World news – ZA – Greeceâs cruise ship industry set to reopen on 1 August