Journalist: I talked to people in Scandinavia and they think that they are going to be the big beneficiaries of this. They think that people will no longer want to travel to places like Greece if it’s 45 degrees and there are fires burning. What do you think the long term trajectory is for Greek tourism? If we are going to see this climate, this climate change sticking?
Mitotakis:People still enjoy the hot Mediterranean and they do want to come to the Mediterranean and to Greece in particular during the summer because
they like to spend time at the beach. If anything, I would argue that climate
change is an opportunity for us to expand our tourism season.
Yes, it may b e hard to come to Greece in July and August, but we will always have enough people interested to come to Greece during those two months.
But we have now more people interested in coming to Greece in March and April
or October and November, more people interested to come to visit our cities
And expanding our tourism season has always been an important priority for us, and I think that there will be more people who, given the choice, will choose not to take their holidays in July or August, not just because it may be too hot, but because it’s too crowded.
So for us, it’s a great opportunity to expand our tourism season and also to open new destinations on the mainland for people to explore. So there’s still going to it’s still going to be some time until the Scandinavian beaches or the Danish or
Swedish beaches are going to compete with the Greek beaches.
Journalist: I don’t see this happening anytime soon. I’ll pass that message on next time I see them. You did face some criticism, though, in the way that you handled the wildfires this year. What lessons do you think you learned?
Mitsotakis: Look, I mean, climate the climate crisis is is here and it’s here for good. We’ve always had wildfires in the Mediterranean, but we had particularly intense wildfires this year and we also had unprecedented floods. So it’s very clear that we need to focus more on short term adaptation.
And this is, of course, a case I’m also making to my European colleagues. We spend trillions of euros on long term mitigation, and rightly so, because we want to be leaders in the climate transition. But we also need to support people when
they lose their livelihoods, their houses, as a result of climate disasters today. So we need to be much more effective in dealing with these disasters. We’ve made good progress.