Greece aims to open to tourists from 14 May, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis announced on Tuesday – although they will need to provide proof of full vaccination, Covid-19 antibodies, or a negative test to enter.
Speaking at the International Tourism Fair ITB Berlin from the Athens Acropolis Museum, Theoharis said that the country was “more than optimistic” and “ready” to receive visitors.
“We’re updating last year’s health protocols to take into account the accumulated experience of the previous year. With these protocols in mind, we aspire to open by the 14th of May,” he said.
Tourism is a major income earner for Greece, which has led calls for the creation of an EU-wide Covid-19 vaccination certificate that will help restore safe travel that has been devastated by the pandemic.
A pilot programme for reopening tourism will start in the beginning of April with other highly vaccinated countries like Israel.
Για το 2021 στην Ελλάδα είμαστε κάτι παραπάνω από αισιόδοξοι. Είμαστε έτοιμοι. Είμαστε έτοιμοι να μοιραστούμε την εμπειρία της απελευθέρωσης από τις δυσάρεστες αναμνήσεις της πανδημίας με καθέναν από τους φιλοξενούμενούς μας. #visitgreece #ITBBerlin
— Harry Theoharis (@htheoharis) March 9, 2021
"Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021," Theoharis added.
"Tourists will be welcome if before travel they are either vaccinated, or have antibodies, or test negative. All tourists will be subject to random testing."
Moreover, the minister said that coronavirus-related extra costs, such as hospitalisation, will be covered by the Greek state, just like last year.
He also said that visitors will be expected to abide by the same rules as locals. “There will be no differentiation, no exemption,” Theoharis said, adding that – for example – mask wearing in public places applies to all citizens and guests.
“Now we are close to the exit from the dark tunnel, thanks to the power of the human spirit and the progress of science,” Theoharis continued.
“For 2021 in Greece we are more than optimistic. We are ready. We are ready to share the experience of liberation from the unpleasant memories of the pandemic with each of our guests.”
During the press conference, the Greek Tourism Minister revealed the country’s new slogan to promote Greek tourism to markets abroad: “All you want is Greece”.
“Yes, this year and forever, all you want is Greece – to put a smile on your face once again… In the hope that you will get your life back, all you want is Greece,” Theoharis said.