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Coronavirus Travel -“The Syros We Deserve ": The real generosity for the future lies in giving it our all

The real generosity for the future lies in giving it our all. So let's do it …

We entered, for a few days now, in a new "normalcy" trajectory with the suspension of some social isolation restrictions and the gradual by sector, even with obstacles, business reopening………….

Anxiety is pervasive in citizens and entrepreneurs and many questions, on the one hand for the proper observance of the protection measures and on the other hand for the great bet of operation of the business community in unprecedented conditions.

Θα καταφέρουμε να σταθούμε όρθιοι και να «σώσουμε την παρτίδα» τη φετινή καλοκαιρινή περίοδο; Especially us, the inhabitants of the islands, that tourism contributes overwhelmingly to local economic activity, we will be able to bring out the "broken" of the summer season that we are going through but also what we need to survive the difficult winter that follows until next summer;

Here, Syros, we will be able to in an already stubborn season, which for us will be even more so, to save as much as we can, or we will surrender to a fatalistic and apathetic approach to things and situations in his logic; God has;

We will be able to compete with our neighboring giants, such as Santorini, Mykonos, Paros and other islands;Islands with organized public and private infrastructure, with a huge number of beds, which until now "played" touristically in another category,targeting incoming tourism on the one hand and high-income visitors on the other.; Somehow, namely, Until now, they were not direct competitors of Syros, since we aimed mainly at domestic tourism and in fact with secondary demand in the majority of. Simply put, many potential visitors, since they could not find accommodation with an attractive price-quality ratio in these islands with increased demand, they eventually chose secondary destinations, including Syros, for their vacation.

Today, I say pandemic, conditions have changed rapidly. Island-tourist giants, with tens of thousands of beds and low occupancy for this summer, reorganize and redefine their strategy very quickly to reduce, as much as possible, their tourist losses. They are also turning to domestic tourism, with aggressive pricing policy, drastically reducing their prices, to "wipe" as much as they can, even from lower-income visitors, to improve their completeness.

Here, Well, in a relentless way, real and not rhetorical questions are asked.

Why a visitor should choose Syros for his vacation this year and not Santorini which under other circumstances would be close; Why pay a room 60-80 € / night in Syros and not 80-100 € / night, even in the caldera, which other years would cost 300-400 or also 500 €; These islands, due to the conditions, forced and "accepted", under the present circumstances, to "play in the Second National Division", removing even more market share from us.

The above findings are useful and unfortunately "realistic" and unpleasant for us. Nevertheless, what can we do to avoid the consequences?; How can we act key?, although we are already desperately late, to claim everything,what belongs to us; We will be able to turn the crisis into an opportunity;

So that we do not live in simple findings, I quote some thoughts and suggestions which even now, at the last minute, if taken into account immediately, they can improve the dynamics of Syros for this season and beyond.

Immediate initiatives and actions are needed, and not words and wishes, mainly from our Municipality, but also by the local business community and associations. The tools are there, what is needed is mood, determination and action.

In the first place, what is needed, I'm sorry, They arethe IMMEDIATE (as of yesterday) and DYNAMIC repositioning brandname of Syros mainly at national level:

  • Highlighting the identity of Syros with emphasis on our comparative advantages, in the light of the pandemic, like theexistence of an organized prefectural hospital, EKAB air transport base and proximity to Athens via ferry connection. This period, the diptych for each visitor is Quality & Security,which is the common denominator for the final choice. Our hospital must be an element of our tourism product and a huge advantage for our island.
  • Existence of small tourist units with restriction of the co-ordination of individuals in the common areas, in contrast to high-capacity tourist units on other islands. Respectively, the dipole of the urban (Ermoupoli, Ano Syros) and the outdoor (beautiful villages) which Syros combines, it also ensures conditions that limit the co-occurrence of visitors at the area level.
  • Emphasis on the promotion of thematic forms of tourism (religious, cultural, maritime, geological, etc.) to achieve its extension - anyway- small this summer season,to attract visitors who would prefer to take their holiday this year off-peak to avoid congestion due to the dangers of pandemic.
  • Targeting Greek tourism and promoting our island as an ideal destination for weekend tourism (citybreaks), due on the one hand to the urban features of Ermoupolis and on the other hand the short distance from Athens.

How to succeed,Nevertheless, the above; The actions required, on behalf of our Municipality and its Tourism Committee, it's simple. As long as there is the practical will and determination. So they are needed:

  • Defining a targeted digital strategy in collaboration with the tourism manager, Marketing Greece (according to the 13/04/2020 the PNP (GG 84 A') with "measures to address the continuing consequences of the pandemic of the corona COVID-19 and other urgent provisions", in the article 69 provides among other things that “the Ministry of Tourism, the Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT) and Local Government Organizations (OTA) a’ and b’ degree, including these development companies, Contracts and services may be entered into with the company under the brand name "MARKETING GREECE ANONYMOUS COMPANY FOR PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM" and the distinctive title "Marketing Greece A.E." by direct assignment),EOT, SETE, the Region and associations, for the redefinition of the brandname Syros, mainly as a safe island destination. The slogan «BelieveinSyros» it is now becoming more relevant and necessary than ever and is paraphrased in "Believe in the Security of Syros".
  • The consolidation of an even greater sense of security for visitors with the brave concession, by the municipality, additional sq.m.. public spaces in catering businesses, where possible, at no extra charge, in order on the one hand to observe and increase the foreseen safety distances between the table seats and on the other hand to make their operation economically viable..
  • The immediate strengthening of the relevant budget codes for tourism promotion who, due to the criminal apathy of the municipal authority, have remained "unheard of" based on data for six months, when they were voted, and even significantly weakened compared to previous years.
  • The aggressive display on the internet, YouTube, social media and TV channels, high quality and aesthetic ready-made promotional videos created by our Municipality in recent times 3-4 years and which remain today,unfortunately, in the drawers.
  • Aggressive google campaigns to promote the destination "Syros", in collaboration with social media, influencers-bloggers of tourism and email campaigns.
  • Immediate resumption - with express procedures - of the upgrade project of Syros airport(expansion runway, humiliation of "Fairy" hill), in order to be fully functional within it 2021, thus giving impetus to the island's tourist traffic.

The above actions and initiatives, must IMMEDIATELY,also, to be combined with a number of other measures that our Municipality should have already taken, but unfortunately it's too late, unlike other Municipalities, to alleviate and strengthen local tourism businesses. These measures, We have repeatedly asked in public and in writing, but unfortunately our mayors are still stubborn and act as veterans of procrastination and inaction..

indicative, Well, We repeat once again what should have been done since yesterday:

  • Reduction of cleaning and electric lighting fees,especially for the affected, under CAR, companies, according to the principle of proportionality and reciprocity, for as long as the crisis lasts, as well as reducing fees to 50% throughout the year, as already decided by the municipal councils of some Municipalities. Especially, for companies that have ceased operations by state order, suggested zeroing the cleaning fees, for as long as the suspension decision is in force, since they do not produce waste. For amounts already paid in the above cases to be given the opportunity foroffsetting future claims.
  • Deletion – zeroing rents for affected businesses renting municipal real estate for commercial use, for as long as the crisis lasts, and elimination - zeroing rents for affected businesses, on a case-by-case basis and based on the time of cessation of their operation, which rent municipal property and have a purely seasonal function, even for 12 months.
  • Elimination - zeroing of fees for affected companies leasing common areas and areas that are part of the area of ​​responsibility of the Municipal Port Fund, as well asseasonal tourism businesses that rent spaces on the island's beaches, based on their facade, for as long as the crisis lasts, or even for 12 months. Το ανάλογο να γίνει και for all businesses operating on beaches, or in the Land Zone, through auction (B.C. canteens, watersports, marine education, etc.). For amounts already paid in the above cases, to be able to offset future claims.
  • For the debts of the kiosk owners for squatting of common areas, to be able to be repaid by dividing the amount due into three (3) or four (4) doses. also, exemption from payment of the corresponding fee on the gross income of the stores (0,5%) for as long as the crisis lasts. For amounts already paid in the above cases, to be able to offset future claims.
  • extension up 31/8 of repayment of debts that had a maturity of 11/3 until 30/4 to the Municipality, in accordance with the debts to the TWO, after the 11/03/2020 Π.Ν.Π. (articles 1 & 2), which was ratified by Law 4682/2010 (GG 76 Α΄/03-04-20). The extension will be made in accordance with the provisions of A.1053 & 1054/2020 (GG 949 BD and 950 Β΄/21-03-20) Ministerial decisions.
  • Neutralization of water and sewerage fees for affected businesses and charge only for water consumption, for as long as the crisis lasts, and providing the possibility of interest-free settlement of their debtsfor a reasonable period of time, as well asexemption of companies from potential fees (tourist, cultural) for as long as the crisis lasts.

End, in addition to the above, additionally required and supporting companies with horizontal measures and initiatives, through the claim by the collective bodies of the local government (SYS, KEDE) and putting pressure on the Government. indicative, we have to demand:

  • Reduction of VAT on accommodation in 6% and the whole focus on 13% until 31/12/2020.
  • Yield vouchers from the Government to beneficiaries of social tourism, on dates outside of peak tourism, in order to create incentives on the one hand to extend the season and on the other hand to avoid high congruence in the two months of July - August.
  • Employee and employee subsidy for tourism businesses for the rest of the year, as well as measures to maintain favorable arrangements for insurance funds.
  • Immediate determination and position in the implementation of the health protocols for the reopening of the tourism sector, where the operating framework of the hotel units will be clarified.
  • Maintaining and increasing liquidity tools in tourism businesses (interest-free and guaranteed loans),throughout the year.
  • Announcement of new subsidies for tourism businesses, of any size, with a high rate of subsidy and its connection with job sustainability (utilization of other available funds of the current NSRF and pre-existing allocation of funds for the new programming period) as well as the increase of PCs of already published media aid invitations in our Region (B.C. Establishment & operation of new tourism businesses in the South Aegean Region) for the immediate integration of even more tourism businesses.

Municipalities must and must stand strong and effective on the side of their citizens and entrepreneurs during this difficult time..

Even a month, even some more visitors to our island, can be crucial to the viability of many businesses, which are already in the "red".

besides, as the French Nobel Prize-winning author wrote, Albert Camus, "The real generosity for the future lies in giving it our all.". So let's do it…

George Maragos
Leader of the "We deserve the Syros" Party
t. Syros Mayor – Syros

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