How Spain, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Italy plan to welcome back holidaymakers after coronavirus

Countries across Europe are slowly starting to loosen their lockdown restrictions, as the globe tries to take baby steps into a return to normality.

With the tourism sector taking one of the biggest hits as a result of the coronavirus, many are keen to kick-start the travel industry.

A number of destinations popular with British holidaymakers are now actioning exactly how they will welcome tourists once measures are lifted.

Places including Greece, Spain, Cyprus are among those aiming to boost domestic tourism before opening their countries to international visitors.

Here’s what governments and tourist boards have said about when tourism is likely to start up again:

Spain

El Arenal in Palma de Mallorca

The future of holidays in the country are still under discussion, says Spain’s minister of tourism.

However Reyes Maroto didn’t rule out restrictions staying in place once international tourism restarts.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper  El Pais, she said: “We have to guarantee, when international tourism opens, that the person who comes to Spain is a safe person…

“The issue of borders will be accompanied by the evolution of the health crisis.

“Therefore, I do not have the solution of when [they will be able to open].

“On how you will be able to enjoy our beaches, we are defining different scenarios.

“It is very important that the sanitary recommendations are maintained, we are going to have to internalise what we are already doing now, hand washing, social distancing … even on the beaches.

“Those patterns will be in our day to day for a time, you cannot take a step back.”

Greece

Greece, The Dodecanese, Rhodes

Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theoharis has spoken about “specific new rules” for visitors during the coronavirus crisis.

Tourism accounts for 20% of the economy in Greece, with one in five Greeks employed in the industry.

Mr Theoharis, who is set to hold talks with his EU counterparts tomorrow, told The Guardian: “If we are to think of the possibility of travelling this year it has to be under specific new rules.

“We have to have new rules for hotels, new rules for beaches, new rules for pools, new rules for breakfast buffets, new rules for tour buses.”

The regulations are expected to be discussed by ministers of tourism from different EU countries, with the possibility of demanding temperature checks and blood tests from passengers also likely to be raised.

In the same interview, Mr Theoharis said he was looking to establish a common set of rules for EU countries that would allow people to move between country and at the same time make “economic sense”.

He said: “If, for example, you can only fly with 10 people on a plane to be deemed safe then obviously there will be no flight.”

The Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation estimates that the country’s tourism industry will make just 30% of what it made in 2019 due to the pandemic, and there are fears for the knock-on effect on the economy.

But if the warm weather brings a reprieve, Mr Theoharis says Greece could open to holidaymakers in July – later than usual but in time for the peak summer months when most revenue is made.

But UK tourists may be replaced by those from eastern and central Europe used to accessing the country by car if air links continue to be suspended.

He said: “Once measures are relaxed a good month will be required to prepare the ground for the [tourism] engine to get started.

“Tour operators are waiting and hoping we can come up with the right rules so that we can start bringing visitors in. We have to strike the right balance … be cautious, tough it out and make the best of it.”

Greece is expected to lose billions of euros in tourism as the mainland and islands close their borders to visitors, with 65% of hotels facing bankruptcy.

Cyprus

Cyprus Aiya Napa beach

Mediterranean hotspot Cyprus aims to open to tourists from July, but it doesn’t look like British holidaymakers will be able to enjoy the intitial welcome.

The popular island has seen just 817 confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus, which has been put down to strict lockdown measures introduced in March

Officials say the island will see a loss of €1.5 billion in tourism income as 60% of all holiday bookings are expected to be cancelled.

But tourism could start to return to the country from July with limited arrivals, according to the  Financial Mirror.

Cypriot tourism stakeholders are keen to salvage the tourist season – by welcoming visitors from neighbouring countries also experiencing lower numbers of the virus.

Brits are one of the largest tourist groups to holiday on the island but the UK will still have to wait until it can jet off to Cyprus.

Bookings for Britain and Russia, which Cyprus receives the largest share of tourists, will open at a later stage.

Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism Savvas Perdios said: “We hope to know in a few weeks when tourists will be able to come from these countries”.

He added: “The important thing is that travel agents have Cyprus in mind…there are positive signs from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Nordic countries, Greece, Israel and perhaps the Netherlands.”

Mr Perdios hopes to see airlines providing attractive offers sometime in July.

A new order is also to be introduced to allow tour agents to issue vouchers over refunds, while also prioritising domestic tourism as a method to bring money in to the tourism industry short-term.

Turkey

Kaputas beach, Turkey

Turkey is planning to introduce a health certificate that British travellers will need to produce on entry to prove they don’t have coronavirus.

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced a new initiative which aims to certify tourist attractions as coronavirus-free while the global pandemic continues.

Some countries are seeing a decline in cases, which is leading tourism officials to put plans in place to salvage tourist seasons.

Officials believe cases of the deadly virus in Turkey will continue through April and early May, before numbers are seen to be going down.

Ersoy said the normalisation phase in Turkey could begin as early as the second week of May,  according to TRT World.

He told local media that holidaymakers will need an official document detailing their health status while new measures are also to be introduced across the tourism industry.

The certification system will include three pillars covering transportation, facilities and passengers who use the previous two pillars.

He explained an immunity certificate would also be required of international visitors.

He said: “This will probably be an example to the world that we have developed. By gradually including all NGOs in the commission, we aim to finalise this certification system quickly in the first week of May.”

Italy

Tuscany in Italy

The Italian tourism sector was already reporting its “worst crisis in recent history” at the end of February, even before lockdown measures were announced.

Italy’s tourism secretary Lorenza Bonaccorsi told AFP: “It will take one or two years to get back to where we were, but 2020 might as well be written off.

“It is still impossible to say when Italy… will come out of the health emergency.”

Italy’s Confturismo tourism association estimated the crisis would result in lost income of 22 billion euros.

It’s not yet known when the measures, including restrictions on movement, will be lifted. Some medical experts advise that social distancing must continue until the end of the year.

The coronavirus outbreak has left many people across Greater Manchester struggling for access to food, basics and other support. Many of them are self-isolating, often in fragile health and alone.

Public services have been working hard to find and help them, but we know they are over-stretched and working round the clock.

So the Manchester Evening News and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity have launched Covaid-19 – a fundraiser aimed at supporting those who most need help, from elderly people with no support network to homeless families living in hotels.

The money will be distributed via the mayor of Greater Manchester’s charity.

You can donate by visiting our JustGiving page here.

Tourism secretary Bonaccorsi said: “This might be the time to move away from mass tourism, towards one more respectful of the environment.

“You will not see the long queues outside the Colosseum you used to.”

The tourism association Corti also thinks the industry will have to change.

They said: “Who will have the courage to get on a high speed Freccia Rossa (train) carriage filled with 80 passengers or a low-cost airline with 270?”

UK

The llyn peninsula is a huge tourist attraction in North Wales

The llyn peninsula is a huge tourist attraction in North Wales

Seaside towns or other tourist attractions in the UK will remain off-limit for “some time to come” as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told MPs that “at the moment and for some time to come” members of the public should not travel to visit popular British seaside resorts.

Mr Gove also confirmed that knowing that coronavirus spreads more easily inside than outside “will be an important factor” when debating the release of certain lockdown measures.

Police in popular UK tourist destinations including the Lake District, North Wales and Devon and Cornwall have set up checkpoints, turning away those out of the area attempting to enter.

Read More

Related Posts

Leave a comment