Covid-19 vaccination, rapid testing and exchange of data are the three keys to restarting tourism, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said during a World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Crisis Committee meeting in Madrid on Monday.
Theoharis tabled Greece’s proposal as president of the committee’s technical team stressing at the same time the need for EU governments to converge with travel and tourism stakeholders and coordinate actions in order to facilitate travel and ensure safety for all involved.
“People who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 should be able to move freely. However, we must make it absolutely clear that vaccination should not be mandatory or a prerequisite for travel,” he said during the meeting which focused on efforts to restart tourism.
Instead he proposed that cross border travel should be based on three pillars: vaccination, data interoperability, and rapid testing.
The minister went on to present a proposal tabled by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for an EU-wide coronavirus vaccination certificate that enable travel and reignite the economy which was warmly welcomed by the European Commission last week.
Theoharis yet again stressed the need to for a common understanding of what a vaccination certificate entails, adopting common rules ahead of issue and possible uses.
He concluded that rapid antigen tests and vaccination were key to addressing any possible risks after re-opening borders.
The Greek tourism minister is the president of the UNWTO’s Regional Commission for Europe.