Published on : Wednesday, June 3, 2020
On Tuesday, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis announced that Greece is preparing to welcome tourists from all across the world for the summer season. He said that the country will also adhere to advice from health experts to ensure that it is considered a safe tourism destination and has no major risk of coronavirus exposure.
Greece was one of the regions in Europe to have a comparatively lower rate of coronavirus infections than various other European countries. The government still enforced a lockdown in the very initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak across the country. The action contributed in a much lower number of infections in the country.
The country largely depends on its tourism sector for economy. The harsh impact of the pandemic in the tourism industry, created a terrible financial crisis that wiped out a quarter of the GDP. Therefore, the government is now eager to attract foreign visitors and tourists in order to contribute in the economic recovery. Authorities are currently focussed on establishing Greece as a safe and attractive destination while also ensuring that visitors don’t cause a new phase of virus outbreak.
Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis mentioned in a press statement that the year has been highly stressful everyone and the refilling of the batteries is the call of the day. He said that Greece is set welcome every tourist but will also for the experts and international bodies to inform about the time when it will be completely safe to do the needful. He mentioned that even though the country looks forward to reopening tourism, it would never put the visitors as well as its own citizens under threat.
He also mentioned that it is essential to find a balance between resuming economic activity and handling health situation and shared that health experts can provide proper guidance regarding the scenario. At present, it is mandatory for all passengers arriving in Greece to undergo tests and to spend the night in a designated hotel till the results arrive.
The government has already outlined a two-part schedule to restart tourism activities. Visitors would be allowed to fly into Athens or the northern city of Thessaloniki as of June 15. All direct international flights to regional airports including islands will be allowed from July 1.
It was announced by officials last week that visitors from 29 countries would be subjected to random coronavirus testing and no quarantine. The move would be introduced as a replacement of compulsory tests and quarantines that currently apply for every passenger. The country also clarified that the current decisions are being based on the European Aviation Safety Agency list of airports with high risk of coronavirus transmission.
The government also mentioned that the present measures referred to flights originating from specific airports rather than countries. Visitors are still allowed to fly to Greece from those airports but have to undertake mandatory testing, and either a seven-day self-quarantine period if they test negative for coronavirus, or a 14-day supervised quarantine if found positive.