Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis has announced that the country is opening its borders on May 14. He said that all persons who have been vaccinated or who test negative could travel to Greece this summer.
“Tourists will be welcome if before travel they are either vaccinated, or have antibodies, or test negative. All tourists will be subject to random testing,” the Minister explained.
After the announcement of the decision, hotel booking rates have increased drastically, with some hotels being already occupied by 70 percent of their capacity for the month of May and June, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
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“This year and forever all you want is Greece. For the smile to return to your lips, with the hope you will take your life back all you want is Greece,” the Minister said.
The Minister announced that after the most vulnerable people are vaccinated, the health authorities will prioritize people working in the hospitality sector.
Tourism is one of Greece’s primary income providers, which has made the country call on the EU executive bodies for vaccination certificates all over Europe to make traveling without restrictions possible.
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, 2020 was the worst year for global tourism, with only 7,4 million people traveling to Greece, less than during its economic crisis, and much lower than in 2019 that numbered 31,3 million travellers.
While Greece had a revenue of 18 billion in 2019, the same dropped to 4 billion in 2020, pressuring the country’s budget.
The Minister expressed his belief that 2021 will be a better year compared to 2020.
“This is not obvious now because the bookings are depressed… there’s a lot of gloom, a lot of pessimism in the market, but I’m sure in the end my calculation is going to be correct,” he insisted.
Greece was one of the first countries to announce the launch of digital vaccination certificates for all persons that have received the two doses of the vaccine against the COVID-19.
By February 22, more than 725,000 citizens were already vaccinated against the Coronavirus, making Greece one of the top five countries to vaccinate most of its population.
Previously it was reported that the authorities in Greece decided to extend the restrictions on domestic flights until March 16 and international flights until March 22 due to the Coronavirus situation in other countries.
Until today, on March 11, Greece has registered 212,091 Coronavirus cases, 6,886 deaths, 179,672 citizens have been fully recovered, and 25,533 cases are currently active.