Special Statement on modified "Greek Summer" 2020

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

This is a special statement.

Well here we are on the cusp of the summer travel season and about the only thing you can count on, besides this new form, is that you can't count on much. As I've written before here and elsewhere, there is no point in reporting on the changing restrictions in air travel and other forms of travel precisely because they keep changing; the insertion of politics and economics into a largely botched global health emergency will serve only to prolong it. Obviously the blame mostly goes to China, which if had focused half as much attention on controlling its epidemic as it did on locking up Uighurs and stomping on Hong Kong might have done some good, and to IATA, the International Air Transport Association, which has nakedly put commercial interests above your safety since this crisis began.

Such recklessness has contributed to one of the most chaotic summers in modern travel history. Will you be quarantined for 14 days if you arrive in London? Can you even fly to London? If you bought a ticket to travel to Paris or Athens in July, what happens if the E.U. decides to ban flights from the U.S.? Can anyone say with certainty that the situation on the ground in Greece, in Spain, in Italy or Germany won't erupt like Vesuvius at any given moment? European media are already talking about potential "health bombs." You could find yourself spending hours on the phone trying to get refunds or ind your planned Paris odyssey in le sewer, or your eagerly awaited Greek summer gone to Greek bummer.

That said, the Greek government has steered the country capably through this crisis and the American Ambassador, Geoffrey Pyatt, has rightly commended the government of Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as you can see for yourself here.

But some hotels in Greece are opting out. Even while Greece is set to "open up" to tourism, the situation is delicate and while several hotels and resorts are planning deferred openings in July, others will remain closed for the season. This includes a Greek Column favorite in Crete.

The bottom line for those of you are still planning to visit Greece this summer (and this goes for most countries), is do not use the big corporate websites like Airbnb and Expedia to make your hotel or flight reservations. I can promise you that even in the best of circumstances Airbnb cannot inspect all properties or enforce hygiene protocols, and every day I see Expedia selling tickets for flights that don't actually exist. Washington, D.C. is out to lunch altogether, so there's no oversight, just looming lawsuits. Journalists hate it people say "trust me" but trust me, you can't trust Airbnb or Expedia any more than you can trust CNN as a source of unbiased news.

We're introducing a new "Greek Compass" service in order to help you navigate these choppy waters. For the time being, for answers, alternatives (to Mykonos, to your favorite hotel if it's still closed, where to get tipsy in Lipsi etc.) and various relevant recommendations contact us here or via Instagram.

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