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“We are ready to accept foreign tourists on July 1,” says Greece’s PM

Greece is ready to accept foreign tourists as of July 1, 2020, providing the course of the pandemic will develop according to the plans, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. It is not clear, though, whether Greece will open its borders to EU nationals only or also to nationals of third countries.

“If things go according to our plans, we will open on July 1, under a protocol that will make sense both to those who want to travel and to our tourism industry,” Mitsotakis said late on Thursday during a teleconference organized by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“We want a greater slice from a much smaller pie – the European pie. The European tourism pie is smaller, but this summer we want a bigger piece,” he stressed.

Explaining how the country managed to handle the coronavirus pandemic properly, he said that Greece was two weeks ahead of most European countries in decisive action to fight the coming Covid-19 pandemic

“The better you do in managing the health crisis, the faster the economy will revive,” he underlined.

On Friday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told media that “top priority as Greece eases lockdown restrictions and prepared to receive foreign visitors is to avoid any possibility of a resurgence in coronavirus cases.”

State minister Giorgos Gerapatritis elaborated on the issue and assured that Greece has a time of 45 days to strengthen the health system in tourist destinations.

“Greece is advertised as a completely healthy destination, as a health safety destination” and on this scheme and for the next 45 days the government will build a very serious public health system on the islands, he told state broadcaster ERT TV.

Referring to tug-of war between European Union member states, he said that there are countries like Greece that encourage tourism and countries encouraging their own citizens to stay in the country, “not necessarily for health reasons, but more for economical ones.”

He stressed that “as of July 1 we will be able to receive foreign visitors under conditions that ensure the public health.”

He added that “we will impose on our visitors the necessary protocols, which will be a balanced mix of public health, but without, on the other hand, to there are disproportionate obstacles to our tourism product.”

Asked whether the country will proceed with bilateral agreements with other countries on the arrival of visitors, the minister replied that “within the limits of EU law, Greece will develop a tourism diplomacy, which will facilitate the arrival of visitors, especially from countries that have not been widely affected by the pandemic.”

Sources have told media that the first country with which Greece will sign an agreement is Israel.

Eager to re-boost the tourism industry Greece is preparing a comprehensive plan expected to be announced next week.

Today, Friday, the government will announce the pandemic safety protocols for traveling by airplane, ferry and train.

The country seems determined to impose some kind of health certificate or a COVID-19 test prior to boarding on an airplane. According to media sources, flight from countries with similar epidemiological profile like Greece will have different rules than from countries with a high number of infections.

Worth noting that with some exceptions for family or work reasons, non-EU nationals are banned from entering Greece until May 18. The European Commission has recently recommended that the ban will be extended for another 30 days. Greece has not taken position on the matter yet, however, a relevant announcement is due in the next couple of days, even later today.

More information about tourism in Greece amid the pandemic here.

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6 comments

  1. You should open borders for Serbian tourist earlier, around 15. June and without corona test, or we all are going to Montenegro….

    • yes please, montenegro waits for you.

    • same for hungarians, Slovenia and Croatia are opening sooner. I really would like to go to Greece, but most of us have to take out holidays earlier than July.

  2. What is it then? July 1? Later? What are the requirements to enter the country? There is no exact information whatsoever… You do realize that every day thousands and thousands cancel their trips to Greece for this year?
    Bye bye Greece, hello Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro. My family is cancelling our 3 week greek holiday and we are going to Italy. Good luck having tourists with making decisions the very last minute. Greece from being first to being last to open. A billion euro story.

    • People can’t make plans with yes, maybe, don’t know Requirements. Will not Even attempt to make plans.
      I will go to Las Vegas!

  3. Travelers from the US spend billions of $ every year in Greece. What is going to happen to them on July 1? What you are saying is very oracular and people cannot wait until you decide to determine whether their trips to Greece would be feasible this year. We will cancel this year and good luck to the unfortunate travelers from the US that will be subjected to who knows what!