Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said Greece has set up five lines of defence against the coronavirus (Covid-19) in order to open for tourism safely this year.
“A big part of the safety measures of our plan for the tourism season involve the conditions for the entry of travelers to Greece,” the minister recently said in an interview to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and referred to Greece’s five lines of defence.
First Line of Defence
Entrance will be allowed to travelers that have a certificate stating that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have recovered from the the coronavirus or have a negative PCR test result.
Second Line of Defence
Greek authorities will perform sampling tests to tourists arriving to Greece from markets where a high number of Covid-19 positive cases were recently detected. The country’s EVA system will indicate which travelers should be tested upon arrival.
Third Line of Defence
Visitors that test positive for Covid-19 will enter quarantine immediately and then undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the coronavirus.
Fourth Line of Defence
Greece has a number of general safety rules, which include mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, restrictions in restaurants, in buses, during tours, etc.
Fifth Line of Defence
Tourists will be obliged to follow the same rules as the Greeks. If there is a mask obligation for Greek citizens, the same will apply for tourists, whether they have been vaccinated or not.
During the interview, the minister said that the government was putting the vaccination of workers in the Greek tourism sector as a priority. According to Theoharis, tourism workers will be vaccinated immediately after the elderly and high-risk social groups.
Greece is expected to open officially to tourists on May 14. Like last year, all tourism enterprises will follow strict health protocols.
“We are trying to create clear and specific conditions so that the travel market is able to adapt immediately and easily. For Europe and some markets with a high vaccination rate, we want to open as early as mid-April. The further development of opening to tourism depends on the market and how ready the industry is… The opening does not depend on the demand, which is usually the case, but on when we will be ready,” he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The Greek minister also mentioned that it will be easier to extend Greece’s tourism season this year.
“After September, the problem of vaccination will be solved and there will still be much demand for trips that have not taken place yet. Some will want to come in October or November. Greece is preparing for this,” he said.
Greece will not discriminate against the unvaccinated
The Greek tourism minister also gave an interview to the online version of German newspaper Die Welt and clarified that there will be no obstacles to the free movement of tourists in Greece.
“There will be no discrimination against visitors who have not been vaccinated. All people will be allowed to travel. This was very important for us when Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis suggested the digital vaccination certificate for travel in January,” Theoharis said.
“We want to create a safe environment for our guests. Because anyone who does not feel safe can not relax. We want to treat the people who come to our country as our family,” he added.