Empty by its tourists, Mykonos has the air of a ghost island


The streets and beaches are deserted, bars and restaurants are closed.

Arriving in Mykonos, at the beginning of the tourist season, the picture is striking: the upscale island, traditionally overrun by wealthy foreigners, offers visitors deserted alleys, barricaded shops, restaurants and closed hotels.

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From the window of the propeller plane from Athens, the few locals and journalists – who have only been allowed to go there since the Coronavirus pandemic – can see the sun-sprayed Cycladic houses. But they only offer closed shutters and empty swimming pools.

A desert

Since the global health crisis, despite the repeal and approval to reopen “It feels like a ghost town, there’s no one on the streets, it’s scary,” he said. Lorraine McDermott, who has lived in Mykonos for 26 years. “Normally there are people everywhere, noise and music, huge traffic”, tells the story of the Irishwoman, who is married to a Greek who rents four rooms in the middle of the labyrinth of alleys of ancient Mykonos.

There are only two cases of coronavirus on the island. ©Alex Korolkoff/Unsplash

In 65 years of activity “I’ve never seen a desert like this”, Nikos Degaitis, 86, also sits on the stairs next to his gift shop, the oldest in Mykonos.

In Mykonos, where few wear masks, luxury boutiques and shops of all kinds have been allowed to reopen since 11 May, preferring to close doors because of a lack of crowds. “Everything depends on the number of customers”Vassilis Theodoropoulos, who does not want to reopen his hotel in June, said he would not reopen in June if he was allowed to do so. “What happens if there’s a case of Covid in the hotel and I have to close and it happens all season?”, he worries. So far, there have been only two known cases of coronavirus on the island.

On the famous paradise beach, where the jet set josles every summer, you can hear the pigeons singing, where the speakers of the Tropicana Beach Club usually drum. “Last year we had 600 to 700 sunbathing, so far we haven’t even had one”, complains Damianos Daktlidis, owner of the Beach Club and the luxurious adjoining hotel that has just “completely renovated.”

The streets and beaches are empty. ©AFP

The young boss fears that “Return to profitability” before the end of the tourist season or “Maybe next year or even next year”. It will comply with all the rules that the Greek Government itself “if you need to put Plexiglas” to protect tourists from the virus. Because everyone is still unsure about the measures Athens will announce to reassure tourists. For the time being, only domestic flights will be restored from 18 May and some flights with France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium will be restored at the end of May.

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In a country where the tourism industry accounts for 12% of GDP, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised on Thursday “Find a way to get people back safely,” Counting on a return “from the end of July”. In a country where the coronavirus has killed 160 people, tourism revenues will fall from 18 billion euros to 8 billion euros, the Greek tourism minister has already predicted.

Mykonos “Have a future, it’s obvious”, assures Dimitris Samaras, who runs a jewelry store on “Little Venice”. “It’s never over here. If the tourists do not return this year, there are also the guests of the yachts. Mykonos is a smile on the sea.”

With Belga