In light of the latest announcement that Greece will allow vaccinated Israelis to visit the country, effective immediately, and the airlines’ bid to expedite the relaunch of their flight schedules, today’s press conference with Mr. Harry Theoharis, Greek Minister of Tourism, put things in perspective.
“We aim to open tourism by 14 May with specific rules and updated protocols,” said Harry Theoharis at the ITB Berlin tourism fair, promising that Greece would welcome anyone who had been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or had tested negative.
However, Greece is eager to kickstart its travel industry, so vital to the nation’s economy, and just yesterday declared it will allow Israeli visitors, as the most vaccinated country in the world, to visit Greece without testing or isolation requirements.
The news has had Israeli airlines and passengers alike giddy with anticipation, but today’s zoom press conference with Minister Theoharis clarified a few things.
According to Minister Theoharis, all visitors, vaccinated or not, are still be required to present a negative corona test performed within 72 hours before departure.
When travel finally resumes, the aim is to offer travelers three options: Vaccinated visitors will enter the country freely, and the same goes for recovered visitors with proof of antibodies; others, mainly children form the age of ten, will have to show a negative corona test. Smaller children will be exempt.
More importantly, Greece is still under lockdown, with restrictions and closures slowly being lifted by May 14. Until then, hotels are open, yet shops, bars and restaurants are closed, and travel between regions is also restricted at the moment.
As Minister Theoharis put it, “It’s just the first step towards building confidence. Things are not back to normal as yet, we try to be very clear with the expectations, but it’s just the first step that will allow mainly business travel to restart during this transition period,” until everything reopens mid-May. “We announced our new motto, All You Need is Greece, and we are taking small conservative steps to show it is perfectly safe to travel.”