More than 28,000 travelers arrived on Saturday with the majority of passengers heading directly to the islands. Greek authorities said tourist traffic was picking up at all entry points including airports, ports, and on the border.
Airports across Greece opened on Wednesday handling flights from across Europe and countries allowed quarantine-free access.
Greece’s government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said health authorities would be heightening testing this month as the number of arrivals increases.
Approximately 2,000 tests are carried out daily at Athens International Airport out of a total 6,000 conducted at 30 entry points in Greece based on health status information provided on the mandatory PLF (Passenger Locator Form) form.
Indicatively, of some 25 new Covid-19 infections over the weekend, eight were detected in tourists after screening at points of entry.
It should be reminded that all travelers are required by law to fill in the form 48 hours ahead of travel. Based on the risk assessment, targeted testing and quarantine are carried out.
On the Greek Border
On the border, thousands of incoming visitors mainly from Balkan countries waited in queues at Promachonas, the only checkpoint open to travelers. More than 66,000 travelers entered Greece through Promachonas over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the decision to ban incoming travelers from Serbia due to high Covid-19 incidents there created long lines at the border as a result of Serbian travelers who tried to enter Greece before the decision took effect on Monday. Travelers from Serbia cannot enter Greece until July 15.
More than 1,500 travelers from Italy came to Greece over the weekend through the port of Patra, as did holidaymakers from France and other European countries, many with their own camper vans headed for Crete, the Ionian islands and the Peloponnese.
Referring to the first days of Greece’s re-opening to travelers, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said visitors expressed their satisfaction with the measures and professionalism.
“The first tourists we received were really very enthusiastic coming to Greece, they view the measures we are taking in a positive light – despite the relative inconvenience – but they [measures] demonstrate that our country is addressing issues with professionalism, as it has done all these months,” he said.
Theoharis went on to estimate that the August and September would show signs of improvement.
“We all understand that there is fear, unawareness, or even anxiety and financial difficulty that do not allow many people to travel. But if we win this bet in the first weeks and successfully manage, then I think that many more people will want to come to our country,” he added.
On an inspection visit to Crete, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said the government had hired additional medical staff to meet the increased needs and was making sure all airports, hotels, and medical facilities were being constantly monitored. Kikilias also called on foreign visitors to strictly maintain personal hygiene and safe distances.
“As we Greeks observed health protocols, listened to the experts, and achieved a great success in these months so as to have a safe country, so should our tourists,” Kikilias said.
Meanwhile, in efforts to inspire travel to Greece, package tour giant TUI launched its “Welcome Back to Looking Forward” campaign with a 30-second video promoting Crete, a popular tourist destination for UK travelers, who will be able to visit Greece as of July 15.
*Please note: increased safety measures and testing in addition to passport controls may lead to longer delays at all entry points into Greece. including ports, airports, and border checkpoints.