Summer without tourists in the interior of Western Crete
- 22 July, 2020
“The traffic is frustrating. We do not have even 20% of other years from people ", says a resident of Agia Galini Rethymno who has been active in tourism for the last 20 years.
The tables in the cafes in front of the port of the picturesque settlement are empty. The same goes for the umbrella seats on the adjacent beach.
"Maybe it's his fault it's early," we think. "Maybe it would have been better not to open at all this year", confesses a man from the area, just before we leave the south of Rethymno for further north.
Next stop is the beautiful Argyroupoli. The images we saw are unprecedented. You used to not find a table to sit in such a season and the traffic jams down in the shops with the water were a given. Now few foreign visitors walk lazily and wonder about the water from the springs. "Most do not sit down to eat. "They just come for a walk," says a child who works in a health store.
We sit in one of the shops and catch a conversation with the owner about the situation that prevails this year: “People were not out all of July. It is better not to open, the operating costs are a lot for a store ", he notes with bitterness and adds that only on Sundays something moves in the area.
A little while later we depart for Apokoronas. As we approach the lake of Kournas we observe floating bicycles to cut rides in the waters of the lake, indicating the presence of visitors.
"Something is happening, of course not like in other years," says the girl who serves us coffee. "In any case, what you see is a very relaxed situation," adds our interlocutor with a smile.
As people in the area tell us, this year the Poles made their presence felt in Kournas, in an area traditionally visited by many German and British tourists.
Wherever foreign visitors come from, they are valuable, in a year when the tourism economy is in "free fall" due to the covid-19 pandemic.
From Kournas we pull north and decide to visit Georgioupolis, one of the most important tourist poles of the Municipality of Apokoronas.
We walk on the coastal road. We notice some closed stores. "The fullness reaches 15% to 25%. And of course some people decided not to open ", two businessmen from the area tell us.
We ask them if they see the situation improving week by week: "No, after all, the bookings for the next period are very low", they note, closing in a sentence the deep imprint left on the tourism economy by the outbreak of the pandemic, bringing with it an unprecedented wave of cancellations.
The image described to us by the people from Georgioupolis is also reflected on the beach, which is more reminiscent of a spring scene: Few people, several umbrella seats empty, sluggish traffic.
In this situation we see a few exceptions. "Thank God, something is moving," says a waiter running to deliver the order. In the shop where he works several tables are full. However, "a cuckoo does not bring Spring". Next to the closed shops, most of them are empty. And this is the dominant reality for this year's tourist season.
From: http://www.haniotika-nea.gr/kalokairi-c ... is-kritis/