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Greece Aiming for May 14 Tourism Opening

Greece aspires to open to tourism this year by May 14, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Tuesday on the opening day of the ITB Berlin 2021 virtual event.

“We’re updating last year’s health protocols to take into account the accumulated experience of the previous year. With these protocols in mind, we aspire to open by the 14th of May,” Theoharis said.

Speaking during an online press conference at the Acropolis Museum, Theoharis said the government is aiming to gradually lift Covid-19 restrictions by the opening date of May 14 in accordance to health considerations.

“For example, we plan to test our health protocols in the beginning of April with EU and other highly vaccinated countries like Israel,” the tourism minister said, however, adding that – for now – all dates are indicative.

How Greece will Open, who can come

According to the minister, Greece is ready to welcome visitors with a complete protocol for summer 2021.

“Tourists will be welcome if they are vaccinated before travel or have antibodies or test negative,” Theoharis said.

All tourists that enter Greece will be subject to random testing similar to last year based on the country’s EVA program, Greece’s AI screening and testing program created to vet the Covid-19 risk of incoming tourists through all of the country’s entry points.

“An important difference of course this year is that we can use rapid tests,” he added, explaining that if a traveler tests positive, isolation will take place immediately without the visitor having to face the hassle of moving 24 hours after having already settled in.

Moreover, the minister said that all health needs, including hospitalization, related to Covid-19 will be provided by the Greek state at no cost to tourists, just like last year.

He also said that all of the country’s rules that are valid for Greeks will also be valid for tourists.

“There will be no differentiation, no exemption,” Theoharis said, adding that – for example – mask wearing in public places applies to all citizens and guests.

Greece will also strengthen its health system structures in all destinations like last year to provide reassurance of proper care to citizens and guests alike.

Furthermore, the government will prioritize the vaccination of people working in the tourism industry, as well as of the general population, as soon as the most vulnerable receive the jab.

“In the meantime, we are mandating frequent testing of employees in order to provide both safety and peace of mind,” the minister said.

Greece’s new slogan

During the press conference, the minister revealed the country’s new slogan to promote Greek tourism to markets abroad: “All you want is Greece”.

“Yes, this year and forever, all you want is Greece – to put a smile on your face once again… In the hope that you will get your life back, all you want is Greece,” the minister said.

Referring to the 2021 tourism season, Theoharis said Greece is “more than optimistic” and ready to “share the experience of liberation” from the unpleasant memories of the pandemic with its guests.

“Today one can add to the incomparable advantages of Greece as a tourist destination its commitment to offer and guarantee the health and safety of each and every tourist,” he said.

Germany has ranked as the leading tourist market for Greece. According to data provided by the ministry, over 1.5 million German tourists visited Greece in 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic out of a total of 6 million tourists. In 2019 Greece had welcomed 4.03 million Germans.

The ITB Berlin NOW 2021 Virtual event will run until March 12.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece.
About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.
  1. Henry Beutler Reply

    I hope eagian air will update there schedule

  2. Barry J Richman Reply

    Does all tourists include US tourists?
    Please clarify

  3. Ulrich Reply

    Not having been in Greece for way too many years, I booked a trip last July when all over Europe the pandemic appeared to retreat. Since autumn of course I considered cancelling it several times; inter alia I wouldn’t fancy to undergo 7 days of quarantine. But now that Greece aspires to open to tourism by May 14th, things start to look brighter; by pure coincidence May 14 happens to be Day 1 of my trip.

  4. George Reply

    Yes you can travel to Greece before May. As long as you test negative 3 days before travel or have done your vaccines.
    I read that in the beginning of March of 2021.

  5. Elizabeth A. Hall Reply

    I’m a bit confused. Will Greece also welcome fully-vaccinated US travelers? Except for last summer, my husband and have been spending July and August on Evvia since 2008. We’ll be fully vaccinated by April.
    Thanks!

  6. kubus Reply

    I have on May 2, where I can resign until April 12, so I think you will have to say goodbye and choose Spain with tests, but although I know that you can fly

  7. Henry Beutler Reply

    We will see …..

    • Anna Lee Spencer Reply

      I do not understand why the non-EU countries are not exerting more pressure on to the Tourism Minister to make a commitment to open the border no later than April 29th so Greeks world wide can visit Greek relatives for Pascha.

  8. Jessica Reply

    As like most things in Greece, this new plan will again reveal “unforeseen” expectations. The tourism will be very minimal, so Greece’s attempt at trying to recover their economy, solely on tourism will be a big let down. The true test will come when the next Winter arrives.

    • Dejan Reply

      If people are vaccinated, why not let them come.
      I hope many people from Greece will be vaccinated till june.

  9. Elena Reply

    This all seems to be reasonable.
    I planned to travel to Greece at the end of April/ beginning of May – to spend some days off, but I also have clients on Crete that have booked my mentoring Services. I wonder whether I will be allowed to travel to Greece in such case even before 14 May? I could not find any updates on this.

    • Luca PELLANDINI Reply

      Neither did I ! I am planning to travel on April 25. This is a big disappointment.

    • Anna Lee Spencer Reply

      I have purchased a United Airlines plane ticket leaving the New York City area (in the USA) for May 4th and it is very frustrating indeed to read such articles, knowing that the Greeks keep moving the dates and killing my hopes. I rented a house for May 8th – 13th on the island of Spetses.

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