Michael Portillo on Greece’s ‘rigged’ finances when entering euro

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Top destinations that tourists like to visit are expected to receive less than 50 percent of their usual visitors, according to investment bank BAML. Major holiday destinations such as Greece and Spain may not again receive their pre-lockdown tourist numbers until 2023. Despite progress on vaccines within the EU and infection numbers plummeting holiday destinations will remain off-limits for longer than expected, according to the HSBC estimates.

Chris Hare, an economist at HSBC, estimated tourist numbers will fall below half of pre-pandemic numbers this summer.

He said: “It is clear that the tourism season has started on the back foot.

“Spending by foreign tourists in Spain was only around €1bn (£860m) in Spain this March.

“This is a far cry from €15bn in 2019 and even almost €12bn last year.

“So even if the prospects for the tourism industry look brighter going forward, there is still a long way to catch up even to reach last year’s levels.”

Tourism is a major industry for many European nations.

It accounts for 20 percent of the Greek economy.

More than one-fifth of the workforce in both Greece and Portugal are employed in the tourism industry.

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The economies of Spain and Italy are also dependent on tourism, accounting for 15 percent of jobs.

This all means that the economies of these nations will have a slower recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Greece is currently not green-lit on the Government’s “traffic lights” travel corridor, the nation has indicated that it will accept tourists with proof of full vaccination, without requiring a full coronavirus test for entry.

On Friday the Portuguese government confirmed that tourists from the UK would be allowed to enter Portugal from midnight on Monday.

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The Portuguese statement said: “This decision will revoke the essential travel restrictions, that are in place until 16 May.

“Any person entering Portugal will have, in any case, to have an RT-PCR test done 72 hours before departure.”

The statement added: “People from the United Kingdom have visited Portugal and celebrated our culture, traditions, landmarks, history and enjoyed our warm hospitality for decades.”

President of the Algarve Tourism Board, João Fernandes, said: “It’s really important because the UK is our main market and there isn’t the concern about the health risk because they have the best pandemic indicators.”

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