By Petros Makris
The shift of the Greek tourism sector toward luring Greek tourists could really solve to an incredible degree the plunge of many hotels, other quarters, restaurants, and even entertainment, after the mass cancelations or restrictions on air travel, due to the pandemic, for the caravans of foreign tourists.
This simple alternative in order to avert the bankruptcy of these businesses was hardly touched on by the government or by associations in the Greek tourism sector. The same radio silence exists in the opposition.
Disdain for the Greek tourist
Why this brushing off and contemptuous isolation of the Greek traveler-tourist?
It is simply because the formal adoration of things foreign and the predominant parochialism relegated the Greek traveler-tourist-consumer to the status of lesser citizens and to social disdain.
What does this extremely rude behaviour toward the second-class Greek tourist tell us?
It simply demonstrates the reduced or even absent respect for the value of the Greek consumer, traveler, or tourist.
Yet, everyone in Greece and abroad knows that the domestic tourist market has customers that are being courted in foreign and domestic tourism.
Without exaggeration, the poorer or more economically vulnerable Greek spends twice and thrice as much as foreign travelers with little bracelets on their wrists.
These bracelets trap foreign tourists in big hotels and deny them the joy of strolling by the islands’ and ports’ small taverns or of buying local products from all sorts of businesses.
These same caravans of people from central and northern Europe, the US, China, Japan and so forth pre-pay in their country all the expenses of accommodation and food at our hotels.
What remains from loads of tourists in terms of liquidity for the Greek economy? Almost nothing!
Let the competent state and regional tourist bureaus roll up their sleeves, along with chambers of tourism, to attract the generous Greek traveler (regardless of income bracket) and they will immediately note the difference.
At long last, it is time for some island restaurants to stop charging the Greek consumer 25-30 euros for a portion of sliced tomatoes.
We must therefore shift our attention to Greek tourists, unless we want to keel over from fatalism.
It would be idiotic to attribute the responsibility for such a painful eventuality to bad luck.