A very difficult year is coming to an end and there is hope that travel will resume in 2021.
In an interview with Capital.gr, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said that there will be far fewer restrictions for those who have been vaccinated and want to travel.
"There is no room for optimism, the vaccine has just begun and it marks the beginning of the end of this difficult period," he said in his opening remarks.
"However, there is still uncertainty as to how the situation will develop so that the Europeans we are interested in can book their vacations en masse," he continued.
"Therefore we have the first positive messages and Greece is in the top three preferences in every country that interests us. Therefore, it will be a year of interest for our country, but it is still a year of uncertainty."
When asked how he sees the tourism industry recovering following the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, the minister responded that the first six months of next year will define the developments in travel and tourism based on the implementation of national vaccination plans worldwide.
“A first round of vaccinations will have been completed ahead of the summer season, but we are not going to have the full effect, complete ‘herd immunity’ as the experts tell us before the end of the year,” he added.
The minister went on to describe 2021 as a “transitional year… more optimistic compared to 2020, a year of growth, but not of full normality."
Regarding the possibility of requiring a so-called "health passport" to travel, Theoharis said that “with today’s data, it does not make sense to ban someone from traveling because they have not been vaccinated. What seems certain now is that the formalities, the difficulties, restrictions, tests will be fewer and easier for those who have been vaccinated."
Looking ahead, the minister said health protocols will continue to be in place because they ensure the safety of both travellers and local communities.
At the same time, he highlighted that Greece was acknowledged for the implementation by tourism services providers of protocols and strict adherence to health measures.