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Mykonos: Open, Safe, Ready for Summer

Mykonos Greece
Mykonos Island. Credit: Greek Reporter

“The safe opening of the season of tourism is the result of a huge national bet that has demonstrated so far that Greece, and in particular, Mykonos is going to win,” Mykonos Mayor Konstantinos Koukas told Greek Reporter.

Along with the rest of Greece, the hospitality industry on the rocky resort island began to welcome back travelers two weeks ago.

Air Traffic and Ferry Arrivals Increase as Mykonos Opens

Mykonos is back in business for tourism with ferry boat arrivals in the port of 10 vessels daily. Mykonos airport currently has 12 daily flights arriving domestically from within Greece as well as International carriers including Quatar, LOT, Volotea, Air France, Easy Jet and Vueling.

“According to all indications, this year’s tourist year will be better,” Koukas said.  “Firstly, mass vaccination has progressed in Greece and in all developed countries. Secondly, we are all wiser at the managerial level than we were a year ago.  Thirdly, Greece, and particularly Mykonos, has had a satisfactory performance in terms of the pandemic.”

The mayor stated “We have been implementing a targeted plan at all levels for many months.” Koukas added “Since the beginning of the year, we have been running a targeted campaign on Mykonos on international social media in collaboration with Marketing Greece.”

Mykonos Mayor Says  Mykonos Opens Safe and Secure

The mayor stated that the new international airport, the construction of the new port, the renewal of street lighting with new LEDs, but also a strengthened system of citizen safety will offer visitors and residents a great experience.

The mayor said that “an additional 100 police officers have been added to the island’s regular duty officers.  New traffic department security, administrative support, the installation of 40 street cameras and the addition of 15 operational drones will create a safer, friendlier environment for our guests.”

Koukas stated “Since May 14, officially and symbolically kicking-off the start of the tourist season, many flights arrive from abroad daily.” He added that the first cruise ship had already arrived and hotel reservations are continuously on the rise.

“The island is in the Green Zone of the pandemic with minimal cases,” stated the mayor. Green zones are areas that have zero new cases with the target of being Covid free. “The vaccination program has been accelerated following government protocols and taking advantage of one of the most highly-staffed health centers in Greece,” added Koukas.

The municipality has served as guardians of public health, according to the mayor. “For the past few months, we have conducted online meetings with all institutional stakeholders on the the island,” he added.  Included were representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, “for the best possible outcome as we begin a new season of tourism.”

“Visitors coming to Mykonos are required to have a negative Covid-19 test upon embarkation at the ports of Piraeus and Rafina,” Dimitris Manesis, President of Mykonos Port Financing said.

“We have enabled a rapid testing center at the port of Tourlos for cruise ship passengers arriving in Mykonos as well as for emergencies,”  Manesis said.  “At the airport we will continue to administer random rapid tests for individuals disembarking from international flights, as prescribed by European Union authorities,” he added.

Mykonos Opens Vaccinating Hundreds of Residents Daily

Director of the Mykonos Health Center and Mykonos Vice-Mayor Dina Sampsouni stated that vaccination rollout on the island was increased with the addition of the  one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  The online platform has been open since mid-May. The island health center is vaccinating both permanent residents and seasonal employees with both Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, averaging almost 300 individuals daily.

Sampsouni stated “for about two months the scheduled appointments were zero or much less than the number of vaccinations that could be carried out daily at the health center.” As of the last week in May, the Mykonos Health Center has vaccinated more than 7,000 individuals to date, 18-years-old and above. The island has a permanent population of about 12,000 individuals.

Some hotels were open throughout the winter on the island and the remainder have begun slowly opening, with a targeted date of June 10. President of the Mykonos Hoteliers Association, Maria Kousathana, said “Reservations for most establishments for the month of June are limited but July through September bookings are good with high rates of occupancy.”

Openings Staggered Through May and June

Openings have been staggered across the last two weeks of May and the first weeks of June in and out of town. The target is the weekend of June 10. Less than a month away, is the 3-day-weekend of Pentecost, Agios Pnevmatos. In the past it has signaled the onset of summer as many Greeks take advantage of the long weekend to visit the island.

Kousathana added that this year, with all hotels open once again, it will be difficult to achieve full occupancy. The number of visitors to Greece expected for 2021 is at half the levels of 2019. Greece had 31.5 million visitors in 2019. Last year the pandemic cut the number down to almost a quarter, with only seven million travelers. Kousathana said “The most welcome surprise is that US travelers will be able to return to Greece this summer.”

Restaurants and cafes are not all open yet. Covid-19 restrictions remain in place for catering, allowing only for outdoor dining. Some establishments in town, also referred to as Chora, as well as on popular beaches, are holding off for the island to have more visitors.

A walk around Chora exhibits the energy of plenty of pedestrian foot traffic through the busiest of spots. Posted at main entryways into the city, such as on the waterfront and the Windmills, are pairs of on duty uniformed police officers. They approach those who are not wearing masks with a gentle reminder that they need to wear masks as they walk outdoors or suffer a fine of $370 if they don’t.

“I am optimistic that we will succeed,” Koukas said. “I would like to invite the old and the new friends of our island to trust us and come to spend unforgettable moments in a safe and aesthetically unique environment.”

Koukas added “Mykonos been established as a top international destination for tourism because it is able to constantly complement high level services and concurrently adapt to the needs of each conjecture primarily for our visitors.”

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