Brussels (Brussels Morning) Greece is hoping to open its doors to tourists on 14 May, with plans in place to allow visitors who have been vaccinated, have antibodies having recovered from COVID-19, or have tested negative for coronavirus.
The plan, announced by Greece’s Tourism Minister, Haris Theoharis, at the IBT Berlin, the world’s largest tourism fair, notes the country will have begun gradually lifting restrictions by that time, should conditions allow.
Hopes of recovery
Greece is at the forefront of countries calling for the introduction of an EU-wide “vaccination passport”, a certificate which would ease holiday travel. Greece is one of the European countries most dependent on tourism for its economy.. The slow vaccine rollout in the EU has dampened its hopes of speeding up its economic recovery by havng a successful tourist season.
Some 20% of Greeks are employed in the tourism sector, which was near crippled by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The Greek government is still hoping for a partial recovery of the sector, aiming to attract at least 50% of the 31.3 million visitors recorded in the years prior to the pandemic.
The Guardian reports the Greek government expects the country’s vaccination drive to accelerate in April, when more than two million doses of Johnson &Johnson and Pfizer vaccines are scheduled for delivery, in time to boost collective immunity for the May opening.
In a country of 10.7 million people, the plan is to prioritise tourism workers in the vaccination drive, inoculating them immediately once the vaccination of the elderly and the most vulnerable has been completed.