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Greece opens for foreign tourists initially from 20 countries on June 15

Greece opens again its gates to foreign tourists without tests and quarantine on June 15, 2020. However, citizens from some 20 countries will be initially allowed. Restrictions for exempted countris will be lifted on July 15 and thus based on epidemiological data.

Foreign tourists will not undergo tests and will not be place in quarantine, but there will be the right for random testing, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis announced on Wednesday. Presenting the package “Restart Tourism,” Theoharis said that initially citizens from some 20 countries will be allowed depending on the epidemiological data in their countries..

“Foreign tourism will start on June 15, where the arrival of visitors from approximately 20 countries will be free,” he said. He referred to “visitors with good epidemiological characteristics, while criteria to be evaluated are: road access, medium flight distance, diaspora communities.

In his speech, the Minister mentioned from “the Balkans to the Baltic” and “northern Europe,” named “first of all Germany, then also Israel and Cyprus and Bulgaria.”

A second group of countries will be added on July 1, with the exception of some countries with negative epidemiological characteristics.

The gradual lifting of the remaining exceptions is set for July 15.

He said that the lists of the countries to be exempted will be ready by the end of May.

Key dates of the roadmap the minister presented are:


25. May : Opening of yachting (domestic)

June 1: Opening of all-year hotels, camping facilities

June 15: Opening of seasonal hotels and accommodations


June 15: Opening of Athens International Airport to flights from all countries with good epidemiological data.

July 1: Opening of all Greek regional airports also in tourist destinations.

Health provisions

Minister Theoharis said that they have evaluated all tourist destinations according to risk levels, “low”, “medium” and “high.”

” We enhanced health facilities in tourist destinations with high risk,” he said but did not mentioned any of them.

He added that health protocols have to be observed by hotels and other tourist accommodations, and mentioned that assignment of a doctor and a “quarantine” are in touristic destinations in case of an infection.

Especially for the island, the minister said that the a total of 20 new analysts for tests on the islands is due, while the operation of 600 COVID-19 beds is secured.

For the financial support of the tourism sector, it has been decided:

  • the extension of the right to suspend work contract until July
  • rent reduction of 40% for businesses until also August
  • the new mechanism of labor support “SURE” until also September.
  • seasonal workers who did not manage to secure a work contract will be financially supported
  • returnable of down-payment and reduction of tax payment in advance.

Reduction of Value Added Tax from 24% to 13% in transport, served coffee and non-alcoholic beverages and in tourist packages.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras announced today that the VAT reduction will be in effect from June 1 to October 31, 2020.

More on gradual lifting of restrictions in Greece here.

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  1. KTG – Do you think US citizens will be included in the July 1st lifting? There was one vague mention of diaspora as well; what about Greek Americans? I cannot understand the logic behind catering to low-spending countries and shunning the biggest market of spenders, Americans. The scale of American tourists in Greece is less than europeans, at over 1 million US citizens visiting Greece per annum. However they book more expensive hotels, spend more money and are probably, if you look at the data, the biggest spenders in Greece when abroad. If they push allowing US citizens in until mid July, and think they are going to make much revenue from the countries listed, they are mistaken and will be losing a good amount of money.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      sorry, no idea They decided starting with coronavirus cases in the tourists’ countries and medium travel distance. Next to revenues they will also have to take into consideration human lives as at the end the financial and political cost may be higher than from “big spenders.” Diaspora are also thhe Greeks who migrated to Europe during the economic crisis.

      • Totally agree about lives coming first. However with this logic then diaspora and tourists from UK, Spain, Italy and Netherlands should be in the same group as the US. Anything else would look hostile to the US as the per capita death rates in the US are actually 12th in the world just above Germany’s and behind the countries mentioned. A lot of this is hysteria and they should not be scared about any blowback not based in scientific or economic data but due to optics. If you hear anything please advise.

    • Probably to do with the risk of Covid from countries which were pretty feckless in protecting their populations.

      • Emirates has flights available from Newark, NJ (EWR) direct to Athens beginning July 1….let’s hope!!!

  2. When will they announce the list of countries?

  3. KTG do you know what group Switzerland belongs to? Thank you & best regards.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      no. as posted: countries lists end of May

    • swissair is at least scheduling and selling tickets for flights ATH-ZRH today though, if thats any indication.
      It might be the case that on that flight, one should only expect to be allowed into Switzerland if one is a resident or citizen, and likewise flying to ATH from switzerland one might only expect to be let in if a greek citizen, but theyre booking seats on flights from today.

    • Adding to the confusion:
      My wife is Greek. I am Swiss. Would she be allowed to enter Greece on a ferry leaving from Italy after the Italians have opened their borders to ALL EU and Schengen nations on June 3rd? And would I be forbidden to travel? (The same question goes for a ZRH-ATH flight, btw).

      I don’t really care what nation’s passport holder anyone is, but I do not understand how a country like Switzerland should be put on the back burner whereas Baltic nationals should be allowed in with the first wave. In all my 45 years of travelling in Greece I have never ever met a single Estonian or Lithuanian yet.

      • keeptalkinggreece

        I saw two Estonians 5 years ago in Athens 🙂

      • As of now, you can enter GR. Anyone can, as long as there is a flight. They test you on arrival and keep you in a hotel room for 24h. I had a a friend from Romania coming to Athens 3 weeks ago. This is meant to be liften on June 15th. I am myself Swiss, my wife is Greek, and I keep checking these rules.

  4. Thank you for the thorough news and updates.
    Do you know what the distinction is between a foreign national (in this article, foreign nationals may presumably enter Greece after May 31 – and a foreign tourist, who may (if from the 20 countries) enter the country as of Jun 15 or possibly July 1?

    In this article, a foreign tourist (coming from one of 20 countries) can enter Greece as of June 15; in the article below, it says foreign nationals may enter Greece after May 31 ( Do they give any indication of what they see as the difference between a foreign national and foreign tourist?

  5. This is MADNESS…

    We have had no sickness here because we have been careful. In all of this we planned for a ‘good winter’ in the this summer period. Now we has this…money, money, money, must be funny…ABBA?


  6. Greetings from Serbia, See you on 16 June….

  7. Is there a chance USA states that have low numbers would be allowed on June 15th to come to Greece? What if I own a home in Greece & have my ΑΦΜ number? I have my ticket secured to arrive June 16 but I don’t know based on this article

  8. Das die Kontrollen punktuell ausgeführt werden finde ich gut. Aber man könnte auch jede Person die nach Griechenland einreisen möchte die Temperatur messen.
    Sehr wichtig ist auch das man sich an die Vorgaben der Griechischen Regierung hält.
    Was für mich auch noch wichtig das der einreisende sein Reise Ziel angibt wo er sich aufhält mit Handy Nummer und auf seinen Handy den Standort freigibt damit jeder Zeit verfolgt werden ob er sich an die vorgaben hält.
    Den wir gehen nach Griechenland um unsere Freunde zusehen und halten uns immer an die Vorschriften der Griechischen Regierung .
    Und was auch einmal gesagt werden muss die Griechische Regierung hat einen sehr sehr guten Job gemacht beim Covi 19. Sie waren die Vorbilder für andere EU-Länder Herzlichen Dank dafür.

  9. It‘s all about money – nothing more, nothing less. Not the people or their health.

    Why bringing tourists in, especially to the Islands, where is absolutely no health service at all?

    We don’t even have one ICU bed here on Zakynthos. Sure, if one of the tourists have problems with Covid-19 they will be flown back to their home state by an ambulance plane – and we will stay here with no medical care whatsoever. My wife had a surgery last year and the only pain killer they gave her after the surgery when she had pain was Paracetamol – because it was the only one that is left to treat pain!!!! Thats Greece!! No medical care like in Germany or somewhere else in Northern Europe!! Understand it and stay the fuck where you are!!! Don’t risk your life and ours too.

    Why the fuck do we stayed in home quarantine with SMS and all the stuff for 6 weeks to have all the foreigners here now without quarantine or even tests?

    That was only to show the world „Hey, look here – we don’t have it so come here, it is safe!“ Do you want to have young Serbians or Israelis on the Islands who give a fuck to everything? They even smoke on airfields right beneath the airplane!!! That are the guys you want here at a situation like this?

    Shut down the season for foreign tourists, allow Greek tourism to the islands and that’s it. That would be fine and in line with the course we had for the last 10 weeks.

    My two cents.

  10. Ehepartner mit Schweizerischer Staatszugehörigkeit, werden gemäß geltendem Recht dem Ehepartner mit EU-Zugehörigkeit gleichgestellt…ebenso leibliche oder adoptierte Kinder (Grundsatz: Familien werden nicht getrennt).