Greece intends to have a summer tourism sector in 2021, although all domestic flights are currently banned until March 16 and international ones until March 22.
The country plans to allow select tourism arrivals from the Schengen area from April and reopen for wider arrivals from May 14, 2021.
The plan that the minister presented is quite confusing. Greece is part of Europe’s passport-free Schengen-zone that mutually agrees what third-country nationals are allowed to the bloc.
If Greece allows nationals to enter that Schengen bloc doesn’t, it means that there will be passport control for arrivals from Greece.
Also, there can be travel or quarantine restrictions from those returning from Greece to their home or resident countries.
European Union is planning to introduce a “health” passport next week that would show whether the person has had Covid-19 vaccination, has had previous Covid-19 infection, or currently has antibodies in their blood to restart the intra-bloc travel for the critical summer season.
Here’s the announcement from Greece:
The plan of the Greek government for the safe opening of tourism in 2021 was presented by the Minister of Tourism Mr. Haris Theocharis, in a Press Conference given in the framework of the international Tourism Exhibition ITB Berlin. Mr. Theocharis set May 14 as the date for the official start of the 2021 tourist season in Greece. At the same time, he revealed the central slogan of the new promotional campaign for Greek Tourism, “All you want is Greece” (“All you want is Greece”).
The press conference was entitled “Return to Greece: The journey to revive a unique experience has just begun” (“Return to Greece: The journey to relive a unique experience has just begun”) was broadcast worldwide via the Internet, online with the Acropolis Museum.
As the Minister of Tourism characteristically pointed out, “always having in mind the faithful implementation of the health protocols, we aspire to open Greek Tourism on May 14th. Until then, we will gradually lift the restrictions, if this is allowed by the estimates of infectious disease specialists for the development of the pandemic. For example, we plan for April the pilot, pilot implementation of the measures we have planned, in the first phase with visitors from European Union countries, as well as with other countries of departure where the vaccination has progressed, such as. Israel. I emphasize, however, that all the opening dates are indicative and may change, depending on developments. ”
During his presentation, Mr. Theocharis briefly referred to the basic health protocols that will be applied at the entrance portals of visitors. Specifically, the country will be allowed to enter travelers who will either have been vaccinated or have immunity due to recovery or will have been found negative in COVID-19 in a recent test. In addition, as the Minister said, “all tourists may be subjected to random tests, in the same way as last year. However, an important difference compared to last year is the ‘rapid tests’, thanks to which the quarantine for positive cases will start, now, without the 24-hour wait like in 2020 “.
“The cost of hospitalization or any other required action, aimed at protecting the health of tourists, professionals and citizens, will be borne by the Greek State” clarified Mr. Haris Theocharis. At the same time, he underlined that “what applies to Greek citizens, will also apply to tourists, without any difference or exception, such as e.g. the obligatory use of the mask in public places “.
The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Haris Theocharis, also stated that “we are strengthening the structures of the National Health System in all destinations throughout Greece, continuing the same effort as last year. We give priority to the vaccination of people who are involved in the provision of tourist services, at the same time with the vulnerable groups of the population in our country “.
Regarding the successful opening of Greek Tourism in 2020, Mr. Theocharis pointed out that under the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism, in cooperation with state agencies and organizations, but also with the private sector “we created specialized protocols for each activity and trained thousands in them employees. We worked closely with companies in the industry and the protocols were implemented in an exemplary manner. We have adopted the innovative ‘EVA’ system for tourist sampling, achieving prediction accuracy 4 times higher than other methods. “Finally, we welcomed and hosted in Greece more than 1.5 million German tourists, out of a total of 6 million visitors in 2020. All these people enjoyed the unique holiday experience in Greece, while remaining completely safe.”
Closing his speech at the Press Conference, Mr. Theocharis said that “to the unrivaled advantages that Greece has as a tourist destination, we add our commitment to offer and guarantee that every tourist who chooses our country in 2021 will be completely safe. . I think I can already hear you whispering our new slogan: ‘All I want is Greece’. All you want is Greece. To find the smile again, to take back your life, all you want is Greece “.
I feel that Greece is overly optimistic about restarting tourism on May 14, 2021, although the sector is vital for the country.
It is almost certain that there will be a summer tourism season within the European Union/EEA because summer vacations within the area are sacred and non-negotiable.
I can see all the Covid-19 mutations mixing up at racy summer clubs in Greece Islands. Let’s hope that it won’t end up in tears.