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“Fewer restrictions for vaccinated tourists,” says Greece’s Tourism Minister

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.

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  1. It has been suggested that people with severe allergies should not have this vaccine (i.e. myself). I am allergic to so many drugs that I have to wear a medic-alert bracelet. Does this mean that I will no longer be able to travel to the UK to visit my family – or will there be an exemption certificate issued in such cases? Thank you.

    • If you are not healthy, you should not travel during pandemic, it puts too much stress on health wervices. You can always travel if you comply with all regulations (vaccination or quarantine).

  2. Lo bla bla talk talk, he just wants the US tourists as they bring a lot of money which is desperately needed after such a disastrous season. Nothing about the “Balkan poor”, those citizens will still be banned.

  3. As it is still completely unknown if a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus any talk about privileges for vaccinated people is quite premature. Besides, any privileges will open pandoras box and will have a lot of unintended consequences I am not sure we all want to face.
    Actually German government is working on a law that will explicity protect not vaccinated people from any disadvantages, both in the public and the private sector.
    I am all for vaccnations, but combining them with privileges is a very dangerous game.

  4. Good luck Greece with stopping people who will not accept the vaccine. Human Rights will not be abused as with the Danes. You can not make us take this or any vaccine. Why? If enough of the population takes a vaccine, where does the virus go? Well it just disperses and eventually phases out. 2021 will be an interesting time for Greece. If you force these laws on to the tourits they will just go elsewhere. You can’t make us take a vaccine that has been rushed.

  5. *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.

    And where exactly has that been proven?? Very dangerous to start making unsubstantiated claims methinks!
    People who have the Flu jab can still get the flu…all it does is minimise the risk of the severity.

  6. Very bad for you, I will not travel to Greece in this case. And most of people I know.

  7. Everyone has to decide if they want to take the vaccin or not. If they dont then it is free to every country to make exeptions, true? If a country has as demand to take the vaccin and you dont then you cant enter. How hard to understand can that be???? It is your own choice! Take it or leave it!

  8. Cheryl Volirakis

    You can still go whether or not you had a vaccine, you just are requested to quarantine instead. It’s still too early to make conjectures until they firm up their plans for requirements to enter the Country.

  9. Good luck Mr Theoharis, I think you are heading for a disastrous 2021.Many business and leisure travellers would either not have a chance or refuse to take a vaccine.
    Weak/inadequate health care system and poor management in general are to blame for what is happening in Greece and other states.