Greece, one of the top tourist destinations of the world, is gradually reopening its tourism industry by removing the requirements for quarantine for travelers who are coming from 32 countries. The tourists from these 32 countries are not required to quarantine themselves if they are either vaccinated or are tested negative against coronavirus. So, with international travel insurance (optional), one must have to provide a negative COVID-19 report or its vaccination certificate.
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Starting from 19th April 2021, citizens from the 27 countries, which are the members of the European Union (E.U) bloc and from the United States, Israel, Britain, United Arab Emirates, and Serbia, who meet the vaccination/ testing requirements against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter Greece without any need of self-isolation for approximately 10 days on arrival.
Greece Tourism Minister, Haris Theoharis said that the lifting of various restrictions for visitors from some specific countries is happening as a part of the run-up to a wider schedule for reopening by mid-May.
The country is taking baby steps before it opens itself for its tourists by 14th May - according to an unnamed senior tourist official of Greece. Nine airports will be opened at the same time as per him.
Passengers from the 27 - member EU countries and Britain, US, Israel, Serbia, and the UAE are allowed to fly to airports in various popular destinations without any force to go into self-isolation upon arrival - provided they meet certain conditions.
Under this plan, the airports that will be opened are - Mykonos, Kos, Santorini, Athens, Rhodes, Corfu, Thessaloniki, Chania, and Heraklion on Crete. This senior official further said that they do not want the arrival of tourists to start as a mess instead the entire system should be tested first. It cannot be opened completely in one go or overnight.
Greece is dependent on tourism, with approximately 20% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country and one out of five jobs are normally supplied by the tourism industry. On top of all this, Greece is trying to recover from a debt crisis that is almost a decade-long, which was actuated by the global financial crisis of the year 2008. Athens has aggressively taken steps to re-energize its tourism industry, following unwanted losses because of the pandemic of last year.
Even though, Greece is very proactive in its efforts for revitalizing the industry, especially given that various Europeans prefer spending their warm-weather holidays in Greece. So, the season of summer attracts many tourists, which typically calls the largest share of the tourism-derived revenue of the country. However, due to last year's pandemic accompanied by the global travel restrictions, with many other countries, Greece also has suffered an unpredictable financial loss.
The government of Greece is strongly supporting the approach of ‘Vaccine Passports’ in the hope that it will be able to restart the travel through E.U., and it is reported as well in bilateral talks with the countries that are non-E.U. Greece is doing all this to get individual agreements of travel.
After a deal with Israel, it lifted the rule of one-week quarantine on Easter for the travelers of Israel who are either tested negative or had taken the COVID-19 vaccine. In this way, with travel health insurance one needs to have a vaccination certificate or a negative test report for coronavirus.
An official of the tourism ministry, who was with the tourism minister of Greek, Haris Theoharis, on a Moscow trip, said that Athens was as well working on the agreements with international operations of tour. They were there to talk to them as per her while speaking on the condition of anonymity. The same trip is lined up for America also by the end of this month.
Greece comparatively has better condition than rest of the European countries during pandemic last year. It has registered more than 300,000 cases of coronavirus and 9,000 deaths. However, in the past few weeks, it is seeing a sudden rise in infection.
In the recent experiment this week by the experts of the travel industry, some Dutch tourists flew to Rhodes, wherein they underwent voluntary confinement in a luxury beach resort for eight days.
These tourists were barred from leaving their resort and even going out on the overlooking beach. This pilot arrangement was done to test run the safe holidays that can be arranged in this era of Covid-19.
On the other hand, the bookings are increasing day by day and travel experts on this ‘Covid – free island’ are seeing a rise in the reservations from this June with all the precautions. Even though this is not the guideline but a traveler must buy a travel insurance policy with other required things.
Summing it Up!
Same as other states of E.U. member states, the fight of Greece against coronavirus is hindered by the slow vaccine rollout of Europe with approximately two million jabs are administered so far. The prime minister of Greek, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told his parliament group on 14th April that it was still too early to lift the restrictions on tourism. The major goal is to enjoy safe Easter and risk-free summer. He further says that the threat is still there and for this reason, Greece is moving step-by-step and once every week it is evaluating its epidemiological data through its industry experts.