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Greece’s Step-by-step Tourism Opening Plan Aims to Recover Lost Ground

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

Balance, safety, and respect of travelers’ needs are the focus of the Greek Tourism Ministry’s progressive plan to open to tourists on May 14 in the aftermath of Covid-19, said Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis speaking in parliament this week.

Theoharis called for a united stance and invited all political rivals and parties to support efforts being made to meet the May 14 deadline.

Plans, drawn up in collaboration with epidemiologists and health experts,  are based on last year’s experience, updated health protocols, and assessment of current data, he said. Theoharis also referred to bilateral actions with other countries aimed at ensuring safety during travel.

“We are the first country to announce a clear goal for the re-opening of tourism on May 14,” said Theoharis, reiterating that like last year, tourism will not in any way affect the development of the pandemic.

The tourism ministry is aiming this year to increase tourism revenue by implementing a plan in phases which includes the gradual opening of land borders in the run-up to May 14; the introduction of self-testing; easing quarantine restrictions for key source markets announced this week; the implementation of the green certificate (vaccination) idea; prioritizing the vaccination of tourism professionals and islanders; and providing ongoing support to hard-hit tourism enterprises so that they can return to operations.

Key to re-opening safely on May 14 is “building trust” said Theoharis, with solutions and agreements.

“The fact that we have set a specific date demonstrates that there is an far-reaching plan being implemented in solid steps,” he said referring to the government’s five-pronged defense plan which includes targeted controls and protocols.

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  1. T Harrison Reply

    The reality of travelling to Greece this year will not be a ‘typical’ holiday. Please respect all those living in the country – wear masks, keep your distance, maintain hygiene! Many Greeks have been reluctant to get vaccinated. Many may have only had one dose by May or June. Therefore the risk of widespread illness remains. On our island, there are 11 !!! covid beds. That’s it! Again, I implore anyone going to Greece – do not be ignorant, do not ignore safety measures. Protect Greek citizens and residents. Many expats are still waiting for temporary AMKAs and will not be safe. My husband, with AMKA, will get dose #2 this month. Me, without AMKA, waited and waited and applied and applied again (at least four times). With the ‘threat’ of tourism opening and Easter, I made the , scary, decision to fly my country of birth. The day I flew out, sat in the airport, I had a reply on email – asking me to officially apply again!! I nearly left the airport filled with hope…. relieved I didn’t. My fifth application put me at #17,598- I was 1188 on first application! So, five days later, still no temporary amka or further reply, But after three plane rides, two travel days, $500+ spent, meticulously following all safety protocols, and saying many prayers, I’ve had vaccine #1 and due for #2 in three weeks….I hope to be back ‘home’ in Greece this summer but I will be taking great care. Hope you do too.

  2. Alexandre Reply

    A very good move by Greece. However, details of implementation are missing: what if by, say mid-June, the EU foreseen certificate is not finalized and vaccinated travelers want to go to Greece? Will the airline have to check national vaccination certificates when on-boarding?

  3. Dr. RMK Headley Reply

    Excited to spend time and money in Greece in June!

  4. R.Ferguson Reply

    It would be great if we could use the test kit in the photo to travel, the swab test is going to cost us £240 then when we get home we have to pay for two more tests. We have booked three weeks in Greece in July we have been going for years, but the excess cost for tests and the stress of waiting on the result is making us think twice about going. We know its for safety reasons but there were no tests to get in last year and i do not think there were many problems, we had three weeks in Crete and two weeks in Kos.

  5. Steve Johnston Reply

    Great that Greece is being so proactive. If easy access to PCR tests for tourists returning to their home countries could be built into the plan that would be the “icing on the cake”. Keep up the good work.

  6. Barbara Bernander Reply

    Greece should speed up the provision of temporary AMKAs so that non-Greeks in need of vaccinations can get them.

  7. Stephen Foulkes Reply

    a very proactive approach from the Greek Government

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