As we all know, COVID19 pandemic has stopped almost all economies on the Earth. A few days ago, American official statistics said that every fifth small business in the USA is closed because of COVID19 crisis. In Greece, where, in normal years, more than 25% of GDP comes from tourism, the situation is alarming because small businesses are closing every day, too. Greek Government keeps introducing new measures to save citizens and their jobs.
Tourist summer season in Sithonia
If we dive a little deeper, Sithonia is a network of smile businesses gently connected with nature. If we exclude a few giant hotels and resorts, Sithonia is full of small-house accommodations for tourists, small productions of famous Sithonia honey, olive oil, and fruit products. Greek Government is providing some help to everyone to survive this crisis, but will that be enough? In conversations with the local population, we have learned that the numbers of tourists this summer has been reduced by as much as 60-70%. Many restaurants, shops, and small studios didn’t even open their business this summer. Everything is now focused on saving resources for the next spring and summer, with hope that borders will be opened and a cure for COVID19 would be found.
Sithonia, like the rest of Greece, has mainly kept its borders with the EU citizens throughout the whole summer. But, unlike the rest of Greece, Sithonia was paradise destinations for the citizens of nearby states, like Serbia and North Macedonia. Borders for guests from these countries stayed closed during the whole summer, and that hit Sithonia hard. Altho, this summer Sithonia had more tourists from the Western Europe, and that can be encouraging for the next season.
However, during the whole summer we were witnesses of empty restaurants, small numbers of tourists on the streets, and half-full beaches in Sithonia. These almost apocalyptic scenes are now behind us, and Greece is preparing for recovery next summer, with a positive attitude and concrete measures of support for small business. People here try to be optimistic for the future.
Small industries in Sithonia
Because they do not depend directly on the tourists, small industries suffer less from a Covid19 pandemic. It’s not easy to find a way to customers when everything is in lock-down, but support from the Greek Government helps these people to continue production. They help them to easily find the way to giant shop networks, and sell their products there.
Like the rest of the world, Sithonia is heavily hit with this pandemic, but people here believe that a better future will come very soon and bring their usual summers full of tourists from all around the world back. Empy “Caribbean Beaches of Greece” are maybe good for photos, but they are always better with full smiles on!