“All you want is Greece”, is the new invitation slogan for foreign tourists wishing to visit Greece this year.

The Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis, confirmed the Holy Monday – 14th of May – as a milestone for the official opening of Greek Tourism.

“To put a smile on your face again, with the hope to go back to a normal life”, said the Greek Minister of Tourism from the podium of the international tourism exhibition ITB 2021, which is being held this year digitally.

In fact, Greece “aspires”, if the health data will allow, to open the tourist gates by May 14th of 2021. Until then the pilot opening will be considered, probably in early April, with EU countries, but also countries that have advanced vaccination, such as Israel.

The conditions in the middle of covid

Addressing the potential visitors of the country, the Minister of Tourism pointed out that Greece is ready to welcome them with a complete protocol for the summer of 2021.

In this context, tourists will be welcomed with the following 3 conditions:

– have been vaccinated,

– have antibodies or have a negative Covid test.

In the meantime, he pointed out that all tourists will be subjected to sample checks, as was done last year.

This year the diagnosis will be immediate and in case of “positive” results the travelers will be transferred to the appropriate facilities. At this point, it was emphasized that all expenses are the responsibility of the Greek state without any charge to foreign visitors.

Remaining on the health front, Mr. Theocharis said that the protection and safety regulations that apply to Greek citizens also apply to visitors to the country. Pointing at the same time that the health structures in the Greek tourist destinations are being strengthened. Also, priority is given to the vaccinations of the people involved in the tourism industry, following the vaccination of the vulnerable groups.

“Fast” tests for tourists and employees

As was also mentioned, the basis for this year will be the Protocol of 2020, with the addition of new knowledge and experience. The main difference for this year is the “fast” tests and of course the existence of vaccines against the coronavirus. After the completion of the immunization of the most vulnerable groups of citizens, priority will be given to workers in the tourism sector and it is estimated that the process will most likely begin in May. In addition, employees will be tested regularly. Tourists on the other hand will undergo sampling tests and the costs of a possible treatment for coronavirus will be covered by the state this year as well.

“We hope to open by May 14. Until then, we will gradually lift the restrictions, as health issues will allow “, said the Minister of Tourism, clarifying that the dates are indicative and added that Greece plans to test its protocols from the beginning of April, with the European Union and other countries that have come a long way in vaccinating the population

“We are more than optimistic. We are ready! “, Said Mr. Theocharis.

“Digital Green Certificate”

As the Minister of Tourism explains, “the vaccination certificate answers all the questions that one could ask and does not exclude anyone. The certificate covers those who have undergone PCR testing, have been vaccinated, or have antibodies to the coronavirus. The certificate has been carefully designed in such a way that it does not raise the slightest concern about the violation of personal data. It includes multiple options, allowing anyone who does not wish to reveal whether or not they have been vaccinated to undergo a PCR test. “The vaccination certificate protects one of the fundamental freedoms of the European Union, the freedom of movement.”

Answering the questions, Mr. Theocharis had the opportunity to clarify that the opening of tourism does not imply an increase in COVID-19 cases, saying that “Greek experts estimate that the contribution of tourism to the spread of the virus is of the order of 3%. The data show that there was no second wave of pandemic outbreaks in mid-summer, but much later, a week after the countries of Northern Europe, in late October-early November. “Even countries that did not open their borders to tourism were hit by the second wave in mid-summer.”

Tourists from Non-EU destinations

Regarding the reception of visitors from non-EU countries, it was pointed that the goal is that anyone who wants to be able to come, of course, in compliance with the conditions. Those who are vaccinated with non-EU-approved vaccines, such as from China or Russia, will also have the possibility to visit Greece.

The “Covid-Free” destinations

The prospects for tourism in the small islands of the country are considered auspicious due to the total vaccination of the inhabitants.

The island destinations, where the vaccinations against Covid have reached 100% of the population and have already been included in the international tourist news as “Covid-Free” tourist destinations for this summer, expect an increase in traffic.

Kastelorizo, Meganisi, Kastos, Thymaina, Psara, Kalamos, Fourni, and Oinousses are islands with less than 1,000 inhabitants where the vaccination has been completed.

The islands of Ereikoussa, Agathonisi, Nisyros, Gavdos, Halki, Mathraki, Lipsi, Othonoi, Tilos, and Arkoi have completed the first dose of vaccine for the coronavirus.

The other islands with less than 1,000 inhabitants, as planned vaccination plan are: Donoussa, Elafonisos, Saria, Kimolos, Ano Koufonisi, Heraklion, Psara, Thymaina, Telendos, Folegandros, Thiraki, Trizos, Trizon, Trizon Ammouliani, Agios Efstratios, P. Trikeri, Schinoussa, Gyali, Antikythira, Peristera, Antipaxoi, Marathi, Dokos, Kalolimnos, Farmakonisi.


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