Greece is planning to reopen tourism from 14 May, and holidaymakers will not need to have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to visit the destination.
Tourism minister Harry Theocharis told an online press conference during the ITB Berlin virtual event that 14 May was an “aspirational date” and would depend on the health situation in the country at the time.
“Tourists will be welcome if before they travel they have either been vaccinated or have antibodies or test negative,” explained Theocharis.
“All tourists will be subject to random testing similar to last year. We can use rapid testing and isolation will take place immediately without the hassle of moving 24 hours after you have settled in your room.
“Our only ambition is to ensure Greece is open to allow anybody who wishes to visit to be able to do so.”
Theocharis said Greece was currently updating its Covid protocols and procedures for the coming summer season and stressed how the country had been able to successfully “open tourism safely” in 2020 when it welcomed six million visitors.
He added that 80-90% of the protocols for visitors to Greece would remain the same as during summer 2020. Cruise passengers will also be able to visit Greek destinations from 14 May.
The destination is launching a new marketing campaign, under the tagline ‘All you want is Greece’, as it looks to reopen tourism just three days before the UK government’s ban on going on holiday could be lifted on 17 May for people living in England.
“In the UK, the demand is already picking up because there’s a lot more optimism with the way the vaccination programme is progressing,” added Theocharis.
Greece also wants to extend its summer season further into autumn this year – the season usually ends in late October – and even target winter markets such as skiing.
“Greece will stay open longer than usual,” said Theocharis. “We have plans to extend the season. We hope that the vaccination programmes will be finished by then.
“We believe this autumn there is going to be a lot of pent-up demand and people willing to travel.”