Greece To Reopen For Select Tourists Next Week

Greece is looking to drop its quarantine requirements from next week for those arriving from the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, Serbia, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates. The conditions are that these travelers have to be either vaccinated or hold a negative COVID-19 test certificate. The Mediterranean country has been vocal about its plans to reopen recently as it plans for a summer of recovery.

Aegean Airlines Airbus A320
Aegean Airlines will be happy about the shift in climate. Photo: Getty Images

The time has come

Last week, Greek officials confirmed that the country will open up for tourists this spring with a series of initiatives in place to ensure that travel returns without any significant bumps. Along with vaccinations and testing, random checking systems at entry points and quarantine hotels for virus holders will combine together to enable smooth operations. Moreover, the nation highlights the importance of having those working in tourism fully vaccinated.

In March, Greece ended a one-week quarantine rule for Israeli travelers who have been vaccinated and test negative. Now, it is looking to expand the relaxations. Applicable countries will be able to arrive in Greece and bypass quarantine after arriving at the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini, and Corfu. There are also two border crossings that will be set up to handle visitors.

Athens Airport Aegean
Passengers will need to arrive at specific ports of entry. Photo: Getty Images

The requirements

Overall, people arriving from the approved countries don’t have to quarantine if they can provide evidence that they have had two doses of a vaccine against the virus or have conducted a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to arriving. Nonetheless, tourists could be subject to any domestic lockdown restrictions.

At the moment, all foreigners need to test negative and quarantine for seven days after entering. Additionally, those flying in from the UK or UAE have to take a second mandatory test upon arrival.

According to Reuters, a senior tourism ministry official said the following about the quarantine requirements:

“We will gradually lift the restrictions at the beginning of next week ahead of the opening on May 14.”

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A crucial industry

Altogether, before the pandemic, tourism accounted for approximately 10% of total employment in Greece. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that the country will be keen to restart safe travel. It’s not only national companies that will be keeping a close eye on the progress. Travel firms and airlines across the board will be eager to get involved. For instance, airBaltic shared this month that it is starting flights to Heraklion and Santorini this summer.

airbaltic, uk quarantine, London flights
Greece’s European counterparts are preparing to transport tourists to the country after its reopening. Photo: Getty Images

Further west, there are a million seats to Greece planned from London Heathrow this summer. This figure is up one-fifth against the same period in 2019. Ryanair also announced additional flights across the nation. Following a dismal year in the industry, there will undoubtedly be plenty of pent-up demand to hotspots such as Greece this summer.

What are your thoughts about Greece’s plans to reopen for tourism? Are you looking to travel to the country this year? Let us know what you think of the prospects in the comment section.