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THI

‘How COVID-19 is affecting Greek Tourism’ was the topic of discussion for the second edition of The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) Digital Speakers series.

Peter Poulos, Executive Director of THI, welcomed viewers and the featured speakers, Ioanna Dretta, CEO of Marketing Greece, and Andreas Andreadis, CEO of the Sani/Ikos Group of resorts and president of Marketing Greece.

Poulos opened by declaring that, “THI will use all its resources to urge Diaspora Greeks to come home this summer,” and Andreadis began on an optimistic note, saying that “Greece’s superior handling of the coronavirus puts it in the best pole position for the restarting of tourism.” He added that, “this summer and next, it will not be about price, but about quality, and health – going somewhere safe.”

Dretta and her colleagues are working hard “to keep Greece at the top of the minds” of people looking to travel, preparing campaigns that will soon be launched.

During the broadcast Poulos announced, “we have hundreds of questions coming in from people who are watching.” The question everyone wanted a satisfactory answer to… if U.S. citizens will be able to enter Greece in June and this summer.

Andreadis provided the general information that, “by June 1 the government and businesses will announce all the protocols” and added that “Prime Minister Mitsotakis is ready to open Greek borders without quarantine, depending on the situation in different countries.”

He also had firm advice for his colleagues: “I strongly urge every hotelier to invest their money in the health of their staff and guests and not on reducing prices. It’s a game of trust and quality.”

Andreadis emphasised that the priority must be securing existing bookings and then persuading those who previously cancelled to rebook for later this year or next year, noting that Greece has competitive advantages in the COVID-19 era. “Greece has the 5th longest coastline in the world” so there is space for social distancing, making beaches on mainland and the islands the ideal refuge from coronavirus.

Klimaki praised Greece’s innovative ‘Greece from Home’ campaign which Poulos said, “people were so proud. It was so well done.” Dretta acknowledged “it went crazy and it organically spread all over the world, especially in the United States.”

Andreadis closed by saying that by early June people should start booking trips for after July 1, “to send the message they support and believe in their country, voting with early commitments, and to help airlines schedule flights,” and Dretta added, “Greeks around the world are very important multipliers of our message.”

Two months ago, The Hellenic Initiative launched a fundraising campaign ‘THI COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund’, aimed at raising donations from Greeks and Philhellenes of the Diaspora to support community-based organisations, entrepreneurs and the Greek public health system. You can donate to this campaign via THI’s website or via Facebook.  

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