greece summer

A summer holiday may seem like fantasy, but Greece is banking on being able to open to tourists, as it has done for more than 50 years.

“We do want people to come to Greece,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Justin Webb on Wednesday.

“Of course we will take precautions in terms of the requirements before traveling but also in terms of the way that we travel, the way that we stay, on the beaches etc.. social distancing rules will apply but we have welcomed tourists for more than 50 years, we want to continue showing the kind of hospitality that we are very much known for.”

In mid-March, Greece closed its borders to all non-European Union citizens, a ban that’s still in effect.

“The issue that is really very very important as we start thinking of the way out of the crisis… and restarting the engines of the economy is how to allow travel and how to do this in a responsible way. Everyone, and of course Greece, which has shown leadership in the way that we dealt with this crisis, will want to continue doing so as we take the risk of opening parts and sectors of the economy,” Theoharis continued.

But holidaymakers will have to pass some requirements before they are allowed to jet away to Greece. The Greek Tourism Minister confirmed that ideas such as ‘health tests’ are being discussed with Greek epidemiology experts. “Of course, this will be done so that everyone has peace of mind when they travel and when they are staying abroad that they will not come in contact, as much as is humanly possible, with other people infected with the virus,” he said.

As of May 4, Greece will gradually start lifting lockdown measures.

“Tourism is 10 pct of the whole European GDP, Europe is the most touristically developed region of the world. It’s very very important and, of course, there are a number of other industries that depend on tourism…so this is an issue that is not just for the economies of the South but is really about Europe as a whole,” Theoharis added.

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