Media: Greek island of Mykonos ready to party like it's 2019 after shaking off pandemic

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Media: Greek island of Mykonos ready to party like it's 2019 after shaking off pandemicThe island being a symbol of foreigners returning to Greece in big numbers – perhaps 75 percent as much as the record 2019 that drew celebrities by the dozen

Already known as a hedonist heaven and tax cheat haven, famous for young women dancing on tabletops, drunken revelry, and wild partying, Mykonos is set to see it all over again this summer as tourists shed worries about the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to flow in like free wine.

In a feature on the island being a symbol of foreigners returning to Greece in big numbers – perhaps 75 percent as much as the record 2019 that drew celebrities by the dozen – CNN reported that after being essentially shut down in 2020 that the celebrating is set to roar again.

All this during an alleged lockdown that was already lenient and has been pulled back so much that it's essentially over, with even the remaining restrictions, such as wearing masks and staying safe social distances a figment of the imagination.

They're getting ready: restaurants that offer only outdoor dining for now and not allowed to play music waiting for the release for indoor dining and to pump up the volume to sound blaster levels as an accompaniment to 1000-euro ($1222) bottles of champagne, bar owners hoping tax inspectors won't show up.

Greece's New Democracy government is on a crusade to vaccinate everyone on 85 key islands as a lure for visitors and convince them they are safe, the government eager for revenues from the country's biggest money-driver.

Clubs remain shut, hoping to soon reopen as Operation Blue Freedom picks up pace, as it's called, although during the 2020 pandemic year especially there were reports of private parties getting around lockdowns.

Only tourists who are fully vaccinated, have a negative PCR molecular test or proof they recovered from the Coronavirus are being allowed in although the European Union is finally getting around to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' idea of a COVID-19 certificate to let them avoid quarantines and tests. 

At the Mykonos Health Center, vaccination appointments are fully booked, with over half of the island's population has received at least one of two required shots, the story noted.

Real estate agent Jerry Markantonatos has just received his jab. "I've been waiting for this moment since the first day that the virus started spreading," he told CNN.

"Honestly, I feel very lucky because I'm in the tourist business, I have a family, parents. So for me, it's a big relief that as everybody that will visit Mykonos and Greece has to prove they are negative and we are also vaccinated we can ensure protection. Definitely, Mykonos will be a Covid-free island this summer."

PARTY HARDY TIME

Tourism brings in as much as 18-20 percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product of 163.89 billion euros ($200.3 billion) and employed close to a million people during the peak years record runs.

But in 2020, there were relatively few who came, international air traffic all but shut down, and many countries in lockdown, keeping people locked up in their homes and locked out of vacations.

"Mykoneans were shocked to see their island with only a trickle of the tourists they are accustomed to," said Mayor Konstantinos Koukas. "But this year all indications show arrivals could double those of 2020,” he added.

Greece opened to tourists on May 15 and while the early bookings are not impressive, with only 10 percent of hotels opening that month, there are signs of a better June and maybe even a boom July and Big Summer.

The welcome mat is especially out for big-spending Americans and the return of Greek-Americans kept away from their family's homeland, now half crazy to get back to it, American airlines adding more direct flights to Athens already.

Mykonos will be a challenge for the government because it's built for partying and rebels, not conformists or people likely to obey health measures even to save their lives.

Another problem is that while US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt praised how many airlines were coming, the US State Department said Greece isn't safe to visit despite a ramped-up vaccination program and COVID-19 cases falling.

Iraklis Zisimopoulos, CEO of the Semeli Hospitality Group, which includes hotels, bars, and restaurants on the island told CNN that, "We receive a lot of questions, though not all translate to bookings yet”.

He added: "The two main questions are if we are all vaccinated and whether guests can really party in the island like they used to. We tell them that we expect that by the 1st of July things will be very close to how they used to be before COVID,” if you can remember that.

The first mega-yachts have started arriving, champagne is flowing at bars and young people especially are dancing like they're frolicking in the rain at Woodstock in 1969, free of inhibitions.

"Last year the regulations were there... but we didn't have the vaccinations," said Vangelis Siafidas, co-owner of the trendy club Alemagou. "This year we were among the first ones to open. We wanted to show people that they can have a good time and a safe time. This is what makes people book tickets."

He didn't have to wait for this year. In June 2020, Alemagou was closed for 60 days and fined 20,000 euros ($24,443) for violating COVID-19 Coronavirus health protocols by allowing hundreds of people at the bar.  

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Mstyslav_Chernov

Tornos
  1. 30/07 16:33

    Revenue from Cyprus tourism shows small rise in May

  2. 30/07 14:16

    Minister: All competent authorities to coordinate to deal with heatwave in Greece

  3. 30/07 11:37

    Covid-19 vaccination appointment platform for children over 12 opens in Greece

  4. 30/07 10:29

    Olympic Yacht Show 2021 on October 1-5 at 'Olympic Marine' in Lavrion port

  5. 30/07 10:26

    UNWTO: Green hotel investments to #RESTARTTOURISM

  6. 29/07 15:54

    President of Hellenic Republic receives Greek, Cypriot and Egyptian students

  7. 29/07 15:26

    PM: The dynamism of the Greek-American community is encouraging

  8. 29/07 15:11

    Australian national with pending Interpol's red notice arrested on Mykonos island

  9. 29/07 14:19

    Special meeting on role of education against misinformation and fake news in Greece

  10. 29/07 13:59

    Greece expects big money in attracting the elderly for wellness tourism

  11. 29/07 12:15

    Greek teachers projected to be next in line for mandatory Covid-19 shots

  12. 29/07 11:05

    Greece records 2,874 new Covid-19 infections and 15 fatalities on Wednesday

  13. 29/07 09:08

    IATA statement on UK recognition of vaccinated travelers from the EU and US

  14. 29/07 08:31

    Air cargo records strongest first half-year growth since 2017

  15. 28/07 15:17

    May international air cargo traffic 9.4% above Pre-COVID-19 levels

  16. 28/07 15:02

    Greece and European Union sign funding agreement for "Greece 2.0" plan

  17. 28/07 14:58

    Unvaccinated students carred from universities in Greece after autumn

  18. 28/07 14:52

    Minister: More than 5 milliion Greeks to be fully vaccinated on Thursday

  19. 28/07 14:42

    Greek Foreign Minister welcomes King Abdullah of Jordan to Athens

  20. 28/07 14:34

    Heatwave in Greece during the next days

  21. 28/07 12:46

    Zagori Mountain Running: 2,600 athletes from 27 countries took part

  22. 28/07 11:06

    Greek artist Tsarouchis show ‘Dancing in Real Life’ runs through July 31 in Chicago

  23. 28/07 10:37

    Ruins of ancient banquet hall discovered in Paphos of Cyprus

  24. 28/07 10:22

    Vision of the New Greece presented at AHEPA Supreme Convention in Athens

  25. 27/07 23:35

    Greece records 3,593 new Covid-19 infections and eight fatalities on Tuesday

  26. 27/07 21:48

    Greek state budget shows primary deficit of 9.1 billion euros between January-June

  27. 27/07 21:19

    Diplomats: Israel shows strong will to enhnace cooperation with Cyprus

  28. 27/07 21:08

    AHEPA’s 99th Anniversary Supreme Convention is in full swing in the Greek capital

  29. 27/07 20:15

    Greek Civil Aviation Authority adds self-test to domestic flight requirements for minors 12–17

  30. 27/07 17:38

    Greek Cultural Center hosts Music Production Class between August 24-September 21

  31. 27/07 13:51

    COVID-19's grip on Greece set to loosen in August

  32. 27/07 10:57

    Greek government announces minimum wage raise by 2%

  33. 26/07 21:52

    Vaccination appointments for children aged 12-15 to become available in Greece on Friday

  34. 26/07 21:40

    Greece-Cyprus-Jordan summit at Zappeion Megaron of Athens on Wednesday

  35. 26/07 21:01

    Management consulting firms more optimistic over economic developments in Greece

  36. 26/07 20:57

    AHEPA’s 99th Anniversary Convention commences with thanks and welcomes in Athens

  37. 26/07 19:53

    Covid-19 restrictions imposed on Greek island of Mykonos lifted

  38. 26/07 19:49

    Greece records 2,070 new Covid-19 infections and five fatalities on Monday

  39. 26/07 19:06

    IATA adds Environmental Sustainability program to its training curriculum

  40. 26/07 15:02

    Doors open for Greece's Covid-19 vaccinated but close for the unvaccinated

  41. 26/07 00:46

    Greece records 1,533 new Covid-19 cases and eight 8 fatalities on Sunday

  42. 25/07 21:51

    AP: Europe's summer tourism outlook dimmed by variants and rules

  43. 25/07 18:42

    Greece's COVID-19 unvaccinated people won't be barred from retail stores

  44. 25/07 15:55

    Study: Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines' effectiveness against the Delta variant

  45. 25/07 12:36

    Incentives to doctors and pharmacists to persuade Greek citizens to get vaccines

  46. 24/07 23:45

    IATA slams European Commission slots decision out of touch with reality

  47. 24/07 00:08

    No vaccinations needed but tests for Greece's tourism workers required

  48. 23/07 20:49

    The 5th Annual World Council of Epirotans Abroad on July 24 through Zoom

  49. 23/07 18:52

    Cyprus hοteliers say Israel's decision for travel ''a negative development''

  50. 23/07 18:43

    Greek government will pay doctors and pharmacists to give COVID-19 vaccines

  51. 23/07 16:38

    Greek Shipping MInister urges travelers to observe safety measures

  52. 23/07 14:46

    European Union greenlights €100 million to support health system in Greece

  53. 22/07 21:07

    Greek authorities will require COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers

  54. 22/07 20:55

    Greek Prime Minister: Mental health is of vital importance (video)

  55. 22/07 19:45

    Old Acropolis Museum in Athens being refurbished as exhibition space

  56. 22/07 19:34

    Greece records 2,604 new Covid-19 infections and five fatalities on Thursday

  57. 22/07 16:29

    Global travel largely on hold despite rise in May

  58. 22/07 16:02

    Greek FinMin launches e-platform for debt settlement for vulnerable households

  59. 22/07 15:40

    IATA: Aviation passengers confident in onboard safety

  60. 22/07 15:23

    Greek government: Vaccinations expected to exceed 10 million on Thursday

  61. 22/07 14:51

    IATA, IATAN and ARC to jointly offer tourism diploma courses for US travel agents

  62. 22/07 12:58

    International Air Transport Association warns governments on high cost of testing

  63. 21/07 22:48

    Russian Airlines to resume regular flights to Greece as of July 24

  64. 21/07 22:43

    Mandatory vaccination amendment submitted in Greek Parliament imposes large fines

  65. 21/07 22:32

    Greek Tourism Ministry clarifies indoor venue requirements for non-EU citizens

  66. 21/07 20:37

    Zagori Mountain Running 2021 schedule announced with top athletes visiting Epirus

  67. 21/07 18:54

    Greece records 2,972 new Covid-19 infections and three fatalities on Wednesday

  68. 21/07 18:54

    Greece records 2,972 new Covid-19 infections and three fatalities on Wednesday

  69. 21/07 16:52

    Greek island of Skiathos world’s third most beautiful film location

  70. 21/07 16:06

    Greek fans fly to watch Giannis Antetokounmpo soar to the top

  71. 21/07 15:17

    Greek PM: 120,000 young people between 18-25 have applied for the Freedom Pass

  72. 21/07 10:17

    Greece plans vaccinating 12-15 year-olds in campaign against COVID-19

  73. 21/07 00:13

    Foreign tourist arrivals in Greece reached 2.3 million already

  74. 21/07 00:00

    Sting to appear in Athens for two concerts marking his 70th birthday

  75. 20/07 22:52

    Greek PM announces plan to overhaul 'abandoned' Olympic Games complex

  76. 20/07 21:49

    The Greek Online School unveils results of its Greek language survey

  77. 20/07 19:44

    Greece records 3,565 new Covid-19 infections and nine fatalities on Tuesday

  78. 20/07 19:33

    3rd Balkan Forum at Thessaloniki to be organized on September 24-25

  79. 20/07 18:46

    WTTC responds to the relaxing of restrictions across the United Kingdom

  80. 20/07 18:40

    Greek Tourism Minister: Arrivals in June 50% up compared to July 2020 reopening

  81. 20/07 18:09

    Conde Nast Traveller presents 13 restaurants in Santorini

  82. 20/07 15:36

    IATA welcomes further easing of border restrictions by Canadian authorities

  83. 20/07 13:25

    Jet2 Group: Britons start holidays in 40 destinations without quarantine

  84. 19/07 22:41

    Greece records 1,834 new Covid-19 infections and eight fatalities on Monday

  85. 19/07 20:13

    Appointments platform opens on Tuesday for people being vaccinated at home in Greece

  86. 19/07 17:21

    Greek PM on Messinia tour: Vaccination of children will not be obligatory

  87. 19/07 15:24

    Cyprus residents travelling abroad record sharp annual spike in June 2021

  88. 19/07 14:17

    Tourist arrivals record rise in Cyprus during June 2021

  89. 17/07 21:58

    Germany declares Greece and Netherlands 'risk areas' for Covid-19 infections

  90. 17/07 17:59

    AHEPA’s Supreme Convention returns to Hellenic homeland in 2021

  91. 17/07 15:39

    Greek island of Mykonos under curfew to Monday over rise in Covid-19 cases

  92. 17/07 15:02

    Boat travel requirements recapped by Shipping Ministry in Greece

  93. 16/07 14:45

    WTTC: Approved vaccine inconsistency could delay the restart of international travel

  94. 15/07 20:33

    4th Investors Forum 2021 in Athens: Four ministers outline government's work and outlook

  95. 15/07 19:35

    Greece in USA’s The Right to Breathe exhibition to last from July 14 to October 8

  96. 15/07 18:22

    Greece records 2,794 new Covid-19 infections and six fatalities on Thursday

  97. 15/07 18:01

    Greece forbids entry to more foreign nationals in updated health notam

  98. 15/07 17:31

    Greek Finance Minister reveals plan to increase number of tranches of pandemic debts

  99. 15/07 17:06

    First International standard on accessible tourism for all announced

  100. 15/07 16:10

    15 Italian youngsters self-isolating on Ios island after five test positive for Covid-19