Greece’s Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis outlined the rules of traveling during the pandemic under new circumstances created by the vaccine against Covid-19. The minister said that there will be two categories of travelers: those who have been inoculated and those who have not.
In an interview with protohema, Theoharis emphasized that those vaccinated will no longer need to be tested or placed in quarantine. they will only need to show a vaccination document upon arrival via air or other means.
The certificate in digital form can be requested by any authority, national or other.
Most countries in Europe will do the same, where mutual recognition [of the certificate] between countries of departure and destination is being discussed, Theoharis said.
For those no vaccinated, there will be expanded border control tools, he said adding that there is a comprehensive plan to support companies and workers affected by the epidemiological crisis.
Minister Theoharis spoke of a “big bet for the opening of Greek tourism and the positive immediate ‘upheavals’ that the vaccination brings to the tourist traffic for 2021.
He said that people have started to prepare trips much more intensively and pointed out that Greece is in the top three-five countries preferred by foreign tourists.
Highlights of Theoharis’ interview:
*Vaccination has a direct positive impact on two levels: First, to make Greek citizens and especially the most vulnerable, safer. Economic activity will gradually regain its normal tempo. Secondly, the vaccinations will create a climate of optimism and this will be reflected in the tourist bookings of tourists from countries that interest us, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, etc.
*People who have been vaccinated are very unlikely to get coronavirus. This means that we do not need to subject them to testing and quarantine procedures.
*Those vaccinated in Greece will be provided with a certificate in digital form. Similar procedures are followed by most countries, in Europe and beyond. It should be noted, however, that at the current stage there is an open debate at European Union level, on how vaccination certificates will be shared between departure-destination countries for tourists, at least at European level and, why not, and more widely.
*For those [tourists] who have not been vaccinated measures will depend on the course of vaccination by country but also on the course of the disease in each of them.
*Regarding travelers from the USA and other countries: “As vaccination progresses rapidly in the United States, we are optimistic that all travel restrictions will be lifted soon. This, of course, will depend on the course of the vaccination”
UPDATE: Later on Wednesday at a live briefing, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said responding to a reporter asking clarification about the vaccination certificate for tourists, that “it is too early to be specific about this issue.”
Theoharis said that Greece is in open line with counterparts in the European Union, while within the framework of the World Tourism Organization, “we try to make the proposals and initiatives taken by bodies such as IATA (the global airline association) but also by the European Union, to be more widely accepted and promoted for implementation.”
The Tourism Minister underlined that “the opening of tourism in 2021 will be done in a balanced and careful way. Careful, because we are still in the gradual release from the pandemic, balanced because our economy can not withstand a second year of such a severe recession.”
Full interview in Greek protothema here.