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Greece in talks with UK to allow Britons with or without vaccination to travel from May, says Tourism Minister

Greece is in “technical” talks with the UK over allowing Britons carrying a vaccine passport to travel to its tourist hotspots from May, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis told several British media on Tuesday. The announcement comes  despite concerns in Brussels and other EU capitals.

Theoharis said he hoped to “dovetail” with Boris Johnson’s roadmap for allowing Britons to travel but refused to be drawn on whether Greece would break with Brussels to establish the scheme. Non-essential travel into the EU is currently largely prohibited. All the leaders of the EU’s 27-member states will say on Thursday that “for the time being” the restrictions need to remain, according to a draft statement.

But Theoharis confirmed that Anglo-Greek technical teams were working on how a certificate system could facilitate the resumption of mass travel and what format it would take.

“We’ll try to dovetail with the plan that has been announced in the UK,” Theoharis told the Guardian.

“A date of May 17 has been set and we certainly want to be ready by then. The roadmap was a very, very good move by the UK government … planning is a pre-requisite for the travel industry.”

In an interview with itv.com, the Tourism Minister said that Britons can travel to Greece for summer holidays with or without vaccine.

He reiterated that Britons who have had the Covid vaccine will be able to travel to Greece and will no longer be required to self-isolate upon arrival.

He added that Those who have not been vaccinated will require a negative Covid-19 test before travelling to the country.

Those who visit the Aegean isles must abide by local restrictions, which could include social distancing and wearing a face covering, Theoharis said.

Despite his optimism, the UK government is yet to rule on whether holidays abroad will be allowed this year.

Curbs on foreign travel will remain in place until at least May 17, with an announcement some point before.


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3 comments

  1. Another Greek government spokesman willing to let people into Greece without a vaccine. It’s all very well,the government and there friends have the vaccine. The ordinary people and that is most of Greece havnt had it yet. Oh well never mind.

    • Us who live here haven’t been able to go to a restaurant in 4 months, but tourists are obviously welcome with or without a vaccine. I’ve been here a while, but now it’s time to move to a more developed country. Greek people are the best and nicest I’ve ever met, but the government and their inner circle deserves no praise whatsoever.

  2. The EU’s heads of state and government are set to discuss the roll-out of a common vaccination certificate during their meeting on Thursday but officials have described plans to use such documents as a device to facilitate travel as “premature”.

    Borders remain a national competence with officials appearing relaxed about the talks with the UK. But few in Brussels believe Greece or other member states will go their own way on tourism despite the economic costs of remaining closed.

    “If there are discussions with the UK government that is fine,” one senior EU diplomat said. “[But] I don’t see any prospect of anyone going it alone. Like most countries in southern Europe Greece is hugely reliant on tourism with the sector accounting for over 20% of the Mediterranean destination’s national output.

    One in five jobs depend on the sector. Less than a third of the 33.1 million tourists the nation attracted in 2019 visited last year on account of the pandemic.