Greece aims to open and welcome vaccinated and Covid-negative tourists from Mid-May 2021, 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.
The vaccination of tourist workers will also be prioritized, he added, after those who belong to vulnerable groups are inoculated.
New tourist season slogan is: “All you need is Greece”
Revealing the new tourist slogan for the Summer of 2021, “All you need is Greece,” Theocharis invited the international public to visit Greece this year to forget the “unpleasant memories” of the past year.
This year and forever, he stated, “All you need is Greece.” Taking a much-needed vacation in Greece, he says, will “put a smile on your face again, with the hope that you will take back life” after the unending difficulties of the past year.
Until May 14, Theocharis explained, a pilot opening for the tourism season will be considered, most likely beginning in early April, open to residents of not only EU nations but also countries that have advanced vaccination programs, such as Israel.
Theocharis stressed, however, that all the plans he laid out will be subject to the ongoing conditions regarding the pandemic.
Random testing will still be the norm at points of entry”
In addition, all tourists are likely to undergo random testing this coming Summer, as was done last year. The important difference this year, however, he noted, is the use of rapid tests, making the process infinitely easier and ruling out the cumbersome mandatory waiting period for results.
Theoharis also noted that all the costs that may arise in relation to Covid 19, including hospitalization and so on, will be provided for by the Greek state at no cost to tourists.
He also stated that all the rules that apply to Greek citizens will also apply to tourists — without any distinction or exception. For example, the mandatory use of masks is currently enforceable in public places and this restriction applies to everyone.
The Tourism Minister pointed out that the country will strengthen the infrastructure of the Greek health system in all vacation destinations, as, he said, “we did last year to ensure proper care for citizens and visitors.”
Theoharis stated that in order to ease into as early as possible of a tourism season, “the vaccination of those who work in the tourism sector will be prioritized if the vaccination of the vulnerable groups is completed.”
He then added, “we will proceed with the updating of the health protocols, utilizing the experience of last year.”
More than optimistic
The Tourism Minister noted that the Summer of 2020 proved that Greece can indeed provide a safe travel experience to everyone, putting them and the Greek public at the least amount of risk as possible.
“We managed to open Greek tourism safely (last year). We created protocols for each activity, trained thousands of employees, collaborated with the private sector that exemplary implemented the protocols, strengthened each island and destination, and created the EVA that improved the effectiveness of controls,” he noted.
“Now, we are close to the exit from the dark tunnel, thanks to the power of the human spirit and the progress of science” Theoharis added.
“The best image for the return to the normality of tourism,” he concluded, is provided by “the Greek smile, the Greek landscape, and Greek hospitality.”
“For 2021 in Greece we are more than optimistic. We are ready. We are ready to share the experience of liberation from the unpleasant memories of the pandemic with each of our guests.”