With huge portions of the global population confined to their homes and practicing social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, people are starting to get antsy. Tourism has effectively shut down over the past four weeks: cruise ships have stopped sailing, hotels around the world have closed down and airlines have had scale down operations to such an extent that they fear bankruptcy.
The entire travel industry has suddenly found itself in limbo. Although, some destinations have begun finding ways to translate their offerings into virtual experiences that visitors can access from the safety of their own surroundings. Now, Greece is among them, having launched an extensive website dedicated to providing an interactive peek at the country’s iconic sites, history and culture via web browser.
Greecefromhome.com was developed as an initiative by the collective Greek tourism authorities in cooperation with Google, which actually provides free, online digital skills training to the site’s audience.
The initiative is intended to help people around the globe maintain a connection with Greece’s unique culture, and encourage them to draw inspiration from the country’s beauty while they remain at home during the coronavirus crisis, as well as to dream of a time when travel is again possible.
Greek National Tourism Organization General Secretary, Dimitris Fragakis, said, “We are fully aware of the extreme social and psychological conditions the pandemic has imposed on almost the entire planet and, for this reason, our primary goal is to send a message of support to those currently experiencing it.”
Virtual experiences, courtesy of Discover Greece, can take you to see famed monuments, ancient architecture and stunning landscapes. You can investigate Greek islands, explore hiking paths, go on culinary tours, follow walking tours and explore inside museums. YouTube videos also enable visitors to listen to Greek music, watch Greek theatre performances, learn to cook Greek fare, attend a wine tasting, uncover Greek mythology, and learn about Greek art, fashion, sports and even stand-up comedy.
Tourism Minister, Haris Theocharis, said in a statement that the #greecefromhome initiative will enable his department to, “keep in touch with our audience, to show them our country and everything Greece embodies in ideas, values, experiences.”
NPR reported that tourism currently accounts for around 20 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product and that its finance minister is predicting the economy to shrink by three to four percent this year. While virtual visits don’t bring in revenue, they can serve to keep Greece top-of-mind for those who aspire to get away once the pandemic is finally a thing of the past.
For more information, visit greecefromhome.com.
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