Just for accuracy, we had a Greek tournament on OGS last Summer (it’s in the group announcements, we had fun).
In any case, yes the problem is obviously to find other people to play even unofficially, for the fun of the game, but my basic issue was access to official events.
I’m not talking about this with only me in mind; parents like to enroll their kids in stuff that offers some type of recognition (and it makes sense, there’s youth tournaments for everything). I don’t know if we are any good in chess internationally as a country (because I was never interested in chess), but I know many parents who consider chess the “go-to” for their kids, as an alternative, competitive hobby. There’s lots of ways to get a tournament here, and even I, with exactly zero interest in that game, have always heard about them.
Even with sports, there was an incredible rise in participation after the Olympics, not only because of the glamour, but because the infrastructure was there. It’s easier to take up competitive swimming if there’s actual access to a pool.
I can’t imagine the same parents even considering introducing their kids to Go, if the only way they can be exposed to a tournament is an international flight.
Surely we all understand how the sudden boom will be ephemeral and the community will shrink back to just the ones already in the know and the occasional walk-in (like me), if everything returns back to “IRL only”.
Is it the best alternative? Probably not, I would love a Summer Go vacation in a 5* hotel every August, for a 3-day tournament. Probably most people here (which is not the same with most people in general) can make a car trip once in a while to change their air and have some fun.
But, if we want to tap into the undiscovered potential of the general population, online tournaments that mean something to people who want to be serious about Go should stay as a choice.