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Greece May Open to UK Travelers Earlier, Says Tourism Minister

Photo source: Heathrow Airport

Photo source: Heathrow Airport

In an attempt to re-open the country to tourists and kickstart the economy, Greek authorities are examining the possibility of opening borders earlier for British and Israeli travelers, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis this week.

In an interview to The Times, Theoharis explained that Greece, under a pilot program, may allow British visitors admission into the country earlier than the set May 14 date due to the UK’s successful vaccination rollout.

The move will allow Greece to test run its opening strategy, which will include allowing travelers holding a digital certificate (that proves that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19 or tested negative) to enter without restrictions. Greece’s opening strategy also includes the implementation of updated health protocols at tourist destinations.

“As far as the UK is concerned, we are delighted to be able to open our arms and doors earlier than planned. This is the plan we are trying to achieve for some countries that have high vaccination rates,” said Theoharis, adding that it would be part of a program for few countries.

According to the minister, Greece’s aim of an earlier opening for some is to test and correct potential issues that might arise by opening to countries that have high vaccination rates and are thus considered safer than others. Israel and the UK are in the lead in this respect, he said.

“We feel that our system strikes the right balance between enabling traveling and safety – that includes tourists and the local population,” Theoharis said.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis (archive photo).

Speaking later on ITV, Theoharis expressed his optimism that in the coming weeks as the country’s vaccination program proceeds and the weather improves, Covid-19 cases will drop and the government will be able to lift lockdown measures ahead of May 14.

He reiterated that Greece will be open to all travelers as long as they provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test result.

It should be noted that the British government has set a tentative May 17 date after which travel abroad will be allowed.

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  1. Libby Reply

    Theoharis’ comments and plans are not realistic. Both countries UK and Greece are seeing an increase in cases and variances of Covid. If the restrictions in restaurants and bars are limiting the number of patrons then the visitors should be limited as well. Opening up too early will only set back everyone and restrictions will be imposed again. Stop dangling carrots infront of travellers – it is very time consuming and overwhelming to constantly make travel changes with airlines, car rentals, hotels, etc. We all want to come and visit Greece and the islands but it must be made safe for all!

  2. Nigel James Reply

    Great, just one little problem they haven’t noticed. At the moment Brits are not legally allowed to leave the country on holiday until 17 May, so unless that changes nothing changes. Thanks for the thought though.

    There’s no sign of any digital certificate on the horizon, either.

  3. Jens Reply

    It makes sense in light of the high vaccination numbers, but I’m wondering when they’ll release the digital certificate and whether it is also for those who have antibodies as they recovered from Covid.

  4. Lesley douli Reply

    So if Greece re-opens to tourism earlier than scheduled I presume ALL workers in tourism will be protected by vaccination and not just the visitors to Greece?????

  5. Sam Reply

    How can they say they’ll be allowed in earlier. When apparently the numbers of cases are still rising here hence why we are now doing another two week lockdown?! Must be psychic to know things will be better by then. Very well played that!

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