The first tourists from Germany arrived on Monday on the Greek island of Crete, as the 2021 tourist season appears to have opened long before its scheduled date of May 14.
Local media report that flights arrived at Chania and Heraklion carrying hundreds of vacationers from Germany.
The first flight to touch down at Chania was Easy Jet flight EJU 5005 from Berlin, with 57 people on board.
Five flights from other German airports also landed at Heraklion.
All passengers had taken a 72-hour test for Covid, which proved negative, while at the same time they also of course had filled out their Passenger Locator Forms (PLF).
Greece requires that all travelers must complete their PLF the day before entering the country and leaving the country, providing detailed information on their point of departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries, and the address of their stay while in Greece.
If they are planning on staying at multiple places, they are required to provide the address of where they are staying for the first 24 hours at least. One PLF should be submitted per family.
Greece opens to tourists earlier
Over the weekend, Greece’s Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis opened a window for the possibility to open the doors for tourists even before May 14, should the pandemic situation allow it.
On Sunday, however, a record number of patients with Covid-19 in Greece were on ventilators.
The total number of people undergoing the invasive treatment, which involves placing a tube in the patient’s throat to assist breathing, has reached 735 in Greece.
In an interview with AMNA, Theoharis said “if everything goes well on the Covid-19 front, with the first crack, Greece will be able to receive tourists even earlier,” than May 14, the date Greece had announced as the official start of the tourism season in 2021.
“We are talking about the gradual liberalization of travel from Europe, the USA, the United Kingdom, Israel, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates,” the Minister said.
Sending a message called “In Greece We Care”, he explained that in order for tourists to come to the country, one must either be vaccinated or have recovered from the disease or have a negative test.
He added that when people arrive in Greece, they will be subjected to random checks at the airport with the innovative “EVA” system, that rapid tests will be carried out and that there will be isolation hotels for coronavirus sufferers.
The Tourism Minister said that the updated health protocols for the safety of tourism employees and visitors will be announced in the coming days.