Greece will welcome international tourists from nearly 30 countries back in June, but will retain a ban on holidaymakers from countries with high Covid-19 infection rates like the United States, the Greek government announced.
- Visitors from 29 permitted countries will be able to enter Greece via direct flights to Athens and to Thessaloniki, a city in the north starting June 15, the Greek Tourism Ministry said Friday.
- Americans will not be allowed back in just yet, as Greece will continue to block travelers from countries with high Covid-19 infection rates.
- Countries like the U.K., Brazil and Sweden have also not received the go-ahead for their residents to have a Greek vacation until at least July, when the tourism ministry said they hoped to expand their list of approved countries to include more.
- For those allowed to enter, Greece will implement measures to keep visitors and Greeks safe, like capacity limits and designated doctors for hotels, while visitors will be subject to random Covid-19 testing, according to Reuters.
“Our aim is to be able to welcome every tourist who has overcome their fear and has the ability to travel to our country,” Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis said on a Greek television station Friday.
Greece has been praised for largely controlling its Covid-19 outbreak, thanks in part to ordering a lock down early on. On Friday, Greece had counted 175 deaths and just less than 3,000 confirmed cases, and no infections have been found on most of the country’s islands, a popular holiday destination. Greece’s move to open to international travelers follows the same decision by Italy and Spain, two vacation spots that also depend on tourist spending.
- Greek officials are eager to attract travelers in time for the peak of the summer holiday season, as tourism makes up about a fifth of the Greek economy.
- Roughly 33 million visitors brought in about $21 billion to Greece in 2019.