Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has lifted hopes that British and Israeli tourists will visit the country this summer thanks to the two countries amazingly fast vaccine rollout plans.
Tourism, which accounts for about 20% of the Greek economy and employs one in five workers, collapsed last year as the COVID-19 pandemic sent its revenues slumping to 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) from 18 billion in 2019.
“Essentially we are dependent on the speed of vaccination in our main markets,” he added, noting that Britain and Israel were leading the way.
However, despite calls for a European Union-wide vaccine certification system, he said that such documentation would not be mandatory for visitors this year.
Under current rules, Britons may travel to Greece but must present evidence of a negative PCR test taken in the previous 72 hours, take a second rapid test on arrival, and self-isolate for seven days.
They must then take a third PCR test before they can end their quarantine.
Israel and Greece are in advance negotiations to sign an agreement that would allow reciprocal visits for vaccinated tourists with no obligation to self-isolate or present a negative COVID-19 test.
Greece and Israel hope that by the time Mitsotakis arrives in Israel on Monday for a state visit, The Prime ministers will conclude the deal and announce it as early as next week.
Israel is also negotiating similar agreements with Romania and Serbia, Cyprus, and Seychelles, while Georgia has also expressed interest in signing a similar deal.