Greece to Welcome EU & Non-EU Vaccinated Tourists from 14 May
Greek tourism minister Harry Theocharis has announced that Greece is opening its borders on May 14. He said that foreign tourists who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, have recovered from the disease or who test negative prior to their arrival will be allowed.
Tourists will be welcome if before travel they are either vaccinated, or have antibodies, or test negative. All tourists will be subject to random testing.Harry Theocharis, Greece tourism minister
The Greek government hopes that the epidemiological situation will allow for restrictive measures across the country to be progressively eased before then.
He also mentioned that tourists’ COVID-19 medical costs will be borne by the Greek state but stressed that “what applies to Greek citizens, will apply to tourists” including the mandatory use of face masks in public places.
“I emphasise, however, that all opening dates are indicative and may change, depending on developments,” Theocharis stressed.
Tourist Interest Increased
After the announcement of the decision, hotel booking rates have increased drastically, with some hotels being already occupied by 70 per cent of their capacity for the month of May and June.
“This year and forever all you want is Greece. For the smile to return to your lips, with the hope you will take your life back all you want is Greece,” the Minister said.
The Minister announced that after the most vulnerable people are vaccinated, the health authorities will prioritize people working in the hospitality sector.
Tourism is one of Greece’s primary income providers, which has made the country call on the EU executive bodies for vaccination certificates all over Europe to make travelling without restrictions possible.
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, 2020 was the worst year for global tourism, with only 7,4 million people travelling to Greece, less than during its economic crisis, and much lower than in 2019 that numbered 31,3 million travellers.
While Greece had a revenue of 18 billion in 2019, the same dropped to 4 billion in 2020, pressuring the country’s budget.
The Minister expressed his belief that 2021 will be a better year compared to 2020.
Greece was one of the first countries to announce the launch of digital vaccination certificates for all persons that have received the two doses of the vaccine against the COVID-19.
By 22 February, more than 725,000 citizens were already vaccinated against the Coronavirus, making Greece one of the top five countries to vaccinate most of its population.
Previously it was reported that the authorities in Greece decided to extend the restrictions on domestic flights until March 16 and international flights until March 22 due to the Coronavirus situation in other countries.
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