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Greek Regional Airports Ready to Go as Tourist Season Kicks Off

Greece’s regional airports are ready to handle the first incoming flights on Wednesday, July 1, after months of inactivity due to Covid-19, said Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias following a series of inspections over the weekend.

Hardalias carried out technical checks at the airports of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Corfu, Chania and Heraklion on Crete, Karpathos, Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Chios, and Mytilene, and was scheduled to complete his tour on Monday, with the airports of Skyros, Lemnos, Kavala and Skiathos.

Speaking from the Greek island of Lemnos, Hardalias also announced the stationing of military health experts who will be responsible for conducting coronavirus tests over the next three months.

“The armed forces’ health authorities will be stationed on the islands for the next three months and will be fully responsible for Covid-19 screening. There will be 60 targeted tests done on every flight day based on specific criteria inserted into [the newly announced online] platform [Passenger Locator Form (PLF)],” said Hardalias.

Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias (center) during one of his recent visits to Greece’s regional airports.

The minister said that based on data generated through the PLF form – mandatory for all incoming passengers to be filled at least 48 hours before entering Greece – the government will prioritize Covid-19 testing.

Greece will in effect be monitoring where visitors travel to based on this form and whether or not they are from high risk countries, and then increase testing at this destination as part of its “Enjoy your Stay and Stay Safe” campaign.

Nikos Hardalias with Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas.

“There will be no one entering the country without our knowing where they will be traveling to… We’ve completed the first difficult stage, but we have two months ahead of us in which time our reflexes, procedures and protocols will be tested,” he added.

Hardalias referred to the importance of managing potential coronavirus incidents with care, in order to ensure that tourism to the islands is not “stigmatized” and that no “misleading impressions are created through rumors or divergent approaches”.

In this direction, he stressed the need to act in a “coordinated manner… in the best interests of the next generations”, adding that the priority was to get the economy going and ensure the well-being of visitors, locals and tourism professionals.

South Aegean Governor George Hatzimarkos with Nikos Hardalias.

In relevant news, the the tourism ministry also announced the locations of hotels to be used for Covid-19 isolation purposes.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. Anon Reply

    When are they going to make a CLEAR announcement on how people can fly into Greece? There are travellers being stopped in airports around the world on their way to Greece, with little or no factual information delivered by the Greek Embassy or the airlines. If they are ‘open July 1’ how do they expect anyone to get here?

    Total mismanagement of the PR from start to finish – it wont be COVID that kills the tourism industry, it will be the confusion.

  2. Gerhard Sihorsch Reply

    What about boat tourism? Can charter boat crews leave harbours immediately after having arrived by plane?

  3. Hash Reply

    Masks are not necessary for officials!
    Mykonos does not have quarantine facilities!
    No hotel interested!
    They are expecting to rent more than 30 Euro per day the government is paying…
    Already no testing done at Athens on many flights,says Twitter feed!
    Staff at Airports not wearing masks!
    I am a well-wisher who has worked hard in Tourism industry in Mykonos Greece for 25 years…..I sincerely hope they get it right…I will pray on July 1st for a country which I treat as my Mana Elllada!❤️

  4. daniel lenoir Reply

    Nice pictures, especially the first photo 🙂 where are the masks ?

  5. Roz Reply

    No mention of the statement that Greece may stop some countries from travelling to Greece and the 9 country list

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