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PM: Greece Prepares to Welcome Tourists Safely for Summer

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated in the Nueva Economia Forum. Photo source: @PrimeMinisterGR

“We want people to be able to travel in safety,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during the Nueva Economia Forum organized by Spain, referring to the importance of promptly reaching an agreement in the EU on a single vaccination certificate and on the implementation of common Covid-19 protocols.

Mitsotakis said the priority was making travel safe and easier. “In this direction, vaccination certificates are very important,” he said, adding that this can only happen with the right protocols in place. 

“We have very strict protocols in our tourism industry as to what activities are on offer and what activities may not be available this summer… as well as on ways to protect tourism professionals, how additional tests will be conducted, in addition to the pre-boarding testing,” he said.

In this direction, he said Greece was taking last year’s lessons and moving a step forward. 

“We learned from last year’s lessons and this year we will open with greater security,” adding that he will have more to say in May or June, when a significant part of the population will have been vaccinated and achieved resistance to the virus.

Photo source: Visit Greece

Photo source: Visit Greece

The Greek prime minister went on to express his optimism that by spring or summer “we will have left the pandemic behind us”.

“We want people coming to Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy to feel safe and that they are not entering a red zone. I believe that this will happen in the spring or definitely in the summer as we will have vaccinated a significant percentage of the population,” he said.

Referring to the key role of tourism for many Southern European economies, Mitsotakis underlined that a Europe-wide approach to enabling safe travel was “absolutely necessary”.

The European Commission has said that the issue will be discussed further in the coming weeks.

“I think it’s a good sign,” said Mitsotakis, adding that member states need to work together to ensure that “we use this as a ‘first stage’ just for medical purposes, and then I think we need to talk on a political level – when the work is done on an infrastructure level – if we can expand its function to facilitate travel.” 

Mitsotakis clarified once again that the certificate is not a passport or mandatory but a tool to facilitate travel and restart tourism in a safe manner.

“I believe this is vital for our countries as we hope for a better tourism season compared to last year, and I am sure that in the end, the European Commission will move in this direction. But even if that does not happen, member states will move in this direction as they want to enable their citizens to have a vaccination certificate which they will be able to use in other countries to facilitate travel,” said Mitsotakis. 

Earlier this month, the Greek PM said that if a unified approach was not achieved, Greece would “proceed bilaterally with all the countries that interest us.”

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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. Mabel Rivera Reply

    We have a group of 14 adults which had a greek trip planned since last May 2020 and we postponed all the ferries, tours, rentals which are all half paid at the moment for this May 2021!! Please let the prime Minister know Aericans should be allowed! We are vaccinated and willing to take covid tests. The quarantine of 7 days does not work for greece as it is a destination where you island hop between islands over that period of time.

  2. Mollie Reply

    I also hope US citizens can visit Greece soon! The US is doing relatively well in terms of vaccinations (especially full vaccinations). If the data demonstrates that vaccines substantially reduce risk of transmission, I hope that they will consider allowing people to travel to Greece sooner than June (hoping to leave before Memorial Day!).

  3. Laurie Bain Reply

    We have booked flights for Athens from the US in October. My husband has been vaccinated, but because of certain issues I have, it’s not advisable that I get it. I’m hoping this will not be a requirement., but just a test. There are other people who fall into that category, They need to keep this in mind.

  4. Pam Lacey Reply

    Canadians also want to visit Greece. We have a home in Rodos and usually go twice a year. I can’t wait until we can visit again.

  5. Gina Elizabeth DeShera Reply

    I hope the US can be included in the vaccination certificates. As the reader stated above many of us had cancelled trip from 2020 and have vouchers that are due to expire this summer. The US has done well with the vaccine and COVID rates are rapidly declining.

  6. thomas roberts Reply

    Yes yes yes

  7. Anna Lee Spencer Reply

    I personally am hoping and praying to be able to travel to Greece on May 4th out of Newark New Jersey, USA. I have been following several web sites and newspapers and I have many American friends that want to visit Greece and wanted to last year, but were not allowed to enter the Country of Greece. If there was some way to let the Greek Prime Minister know how many millions of Americans want to be tourists in Greece, I would like to let him know. I live on the Central Coast of California, one of the most desirable places for tourism in all of California ! But, I am of Greek Heritage and I have already visited Greece, and want to come back.

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