Travel company TUI has openly threatened the Greek government that it would cancel all its trips to Greece due to the 36-hour quarantine Athens reportedly wanted to impose on tested tourists, German daily BILD reports on Wednesday.
Reason for the threats was the original Greek plan that tourists tested in COVID-19 upon arrival should be placed in a 36-hour quarantine, awaiting for the test results.
TUI insisted that Greece abandons the provision. Finally, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis withdrew it, the daily reports.
“According to exclusive information from BILD, leader of the tourist market, TUI, threatened to cancel all her trips immediately. Reason was the controversy over an extreme quarantine directive of the Greek government. (ss. based on the plan). Randomly selected visitors would be tested at the airport for COVID-19 and then had to enter quarantine for 36 hours until the results were out,” BILD reported on its website.
“But how would tourists spend 36 hours in quarantine? Hotels should create separate spaces so that customers do not have contact with others. They would have to take care of their own food, and they would not be allowed to leave the hotel,” the German daily notes.
According to the BILD claim, “the TUI’s manager was negotiating on Monday with the Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis. The travel company’s message was: With such a regulation we do not send customers to Greece. TUI has openly threatened to cancel all trips. The minister rushed to call Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. He eventually withdrew. The quarantine regulation was withdrawn at the last minute and the holidays in Greece were saved.”
Εκπρόσωπος της TUI επιβεβεβαιώνει στη DW ότι ο όμιλος μετέφερε στην ελλ. κυβέρν. την αγωνία και δυσαρέσκεια των πελατών της για την αρχικώς προβλεπόμενη καραντίνα των 36 ωρών για όσους περιμένουν αποτελέσματα δειγματ. τεστ. Οι ίδιοι οι πελάτες ήταν αυτοί που απειλούσαν με ακύρωση
— DW Greek (@dw_greek) July 1, 2020
A TUI spokesman confirmed to the Greek Program of the Deutsche Welle, that the company transferred to the Greek government “the anxiety and dissatisfaction of its customers for the initially provided quarantine of 36 hours for those who are waiting for sample test results.”
It was “the customers themselves who were threatening to cancel their trips,” the TUI spokesman reportedly said. He added that “the provision has finally been withdrawn and so even those who take the test can move freely and continue their journey.”
So far, there has been no comment from the Greek side.
For both sides, the decisive factor was certainly the Money. TUI customers would probably claim some kind of refund from TUI for having “wasted one and a half day from their holidays in confined in a room,” TUI would possible need to change its package prices For sure, Greece would be the big loser if TUI would withdraw from the Greek market. And it was anyway much too late for any changes on the TUI side.
Greece, however, could have issued its instructions for tested tourists much earlier and not a few hours before the July 1. It is its “heavy industry”, after all.
PS It is not known whether the threats were shot before or after TUI and Greece signed a “strategic agreement” on June 30.