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Greece Officially Opens for the 2021 Tourism Season

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Thursday presented the government’s plan for the safe opening of the 2021 tourism season set for Friday, May 14.

“It is a fact: We are reopening the Greek tourism industry and bringing Greece back to the European and world forefront as a destination equivalent to hospitality and safety,” Theoharis said, speaking during a press event at a luxury resort in Sounio, having the world-renowned archaeological site as a backdrop.

Focusing on the way Greece will welcome its visitors and keep them and the country’s residents safe from the coronavirus (Covid-19), Theoharis presented the main points of the government’s tourism restart plan that includes strict health protocols and procedures.

“These have been presented extensively but we are constantly improving individual details,” the minister said.

How travelers can enter Greece

Greece will allow entrance to travelers that have filled out the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) one day before travel and have one of the following:

– a vaccination certificate, stating that 14 days have passed since full vaccination for Covid-19
– a negative PCR test performed less than three days (72 hours)
– a certificate stating that one has recovered from the coronavirus

On June 1, Greece will be technically ready to activate its “green pass” system, weeks before the expected launch of the EU’s Digital Green Certificate (also known as EU Covid-19 Certificate).

Entry points

Travelers, having the required documentation, can enter Greece through all of the country’s international airports and through the ports of Patras, Igoumenitsa and Corfu.

The country will be accepting road travelers through three entry points in Northern Greece:

the Promachonas and Ormeni border stations on a 24-hour basis, and
the Evzoni border station from 7am to 11pm.

The minister underlined that more border points will open in the near future.

No quarantine after arrival

At the moment, travelers from the following countries are allowed to enter Greece – provided they have the required documentation – without the requirement for subsequent self-isolation are: EU & Schengen Area countries, Australia, Northern Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, New Zealand, Cuba, South Korea, Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore and Thailand.

Extra safety measures

The minister said that random Covid-19 tests will be conducted at Greece’s entrance points through the country’s innovative EVA system, which indicates which travelers should be tested upon arrival based on the information provided on their PLF. The EVA system is 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. If a passenger is selected for a rapid test and is positive for the coronavirus then he/she must quarantine.

Greece has established a network of quarantine hotels in 35 areas of the country in close distance to entry points. The quarantine hotels are a precaution in case a passenger selected for a rapid test is positive for the virus.

Moreover, all tourism-related businesses and services in Greece will operate under updated health safety protocols.

The tourism minister added that the Greek government was accelerating vaccinations throughout the country in order to ascertain the protection of the general population, workers and tourists.

Priority: the Greek islands

The government is prioritizing the Covid-19 vaccination of all islanders through its recently launched “Blue Freedom” plan.

The plan aims to complete the Covid-19 vaccination of all islanders by the end of June.

“The ‘Blue Freedom’ plan of the Greek Government brings us closer to freedom,” he said.

Minister Theoharis also referred to the importance of domestic tourism and said the “Tourism for All” state-subsidized vacation program is expected to continue for 2021. According to the minister, further announcements on the issue will be made soon.

The Greek government has detailed information on a dedicated website, which includes frequently asked questions, on how Greece will be welcoming visitors this year.

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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. Stuart Mather Reply

    So only a PCR test to enter? No rapid antigen tests? Also will it be possible to get PCR tests from the smaller islands to return home?

  2. cesare Gessler Reply

    I have a a vaccination Covid 19 Receipt from Switzerland. Is this valid?

  3. Piotr Reply

    Are there any plans regarding changes to test requirements for children? Or 5 years stays for good?
    Thanks.

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