Greece is expecting to welcome British tourists with negative coronavirus tests or vaccination certificates on May 17th, when tourists from the UK will be able to leave the country. According to British government sources, vaccine passports for their citizens are currently in the works.
British plans for Greek holidays
The UK government has been working hard to make provisions for travel this summer. According to government sources, Britain is working on getting vaccine passports ready for its citizens to use when travelling abroad.
Ministers are under pressure to get the vaccination passport system ready before May 17th, the day that the UK is easing non-essential travel restrictions; this date is just two days after Greece opens its borders to tourists.
Britain is also expected to announce a “traffic-light” system to categorize holiday destinations for this summer. The announcement is planned for May 7th, less than two weeks before British residents will be allowed to travel. Different traffic-light colors will signify varying quarantine lengths upon travelers’ return to the UK.
British ministers are looking into whether some Greek islands can be classified as different traffic-light colors than the mainland in order to allow for lower quarantine requirements for British tourists. These Greek islands have very high vaccination rates as well as low case numbers, making them a particularly safe place to travel this summer.
Tourists in Greece
Greece lifted its quarantine requirements on Monday, as the country reopened for American, British, EU, UAE, Serbian and Israeli travelers who either are vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19, or can show a negative PCR test upon arrival.
Greece is opening its borders earlier than most other European nations, with Spain and Portugal waiting until June to welcome tourists.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis on Monday announced government plans to vaccinate 280,000 tourism sector workers against the coronavirus as soon as the country’s vulnerable people have been vaccinated.
Along with plans to vaccinate all inhabitants of islands with a population under 10,000, this is part of Greece’s roadmap towards safe tourism this summer.
Greece’s Tourism Minister: “The whole country is safe”
Part of the plan for summer tourism is to project the message that the whole country is safe for tourists. Theocharis warned against promoting just specific areas or islands as “Covid-free,” as he claims this is not a sound tourism strategy.
Tourism could be threatened for several reasons if the narrative of a “Covid-free” area is pushed, Theoharis reasons. The government’s solution is to promote the whole country as being safe for tourists to arrive this summer.
However, there are certain islands that the Greek government is planning on fully vaccinating before the tourism season, with every single adult resident inoculated. A total of eighty-five islands with populations under 10,000 will see all of their residents fully vaccinated as part of “Operation Freedom.”
These islands traditionally lure tourists from all over the world to Greece, and the campaign is an important effort to bolster one of the most important economic sectors in Greece.
Greece is excited to host many British tourists this summer — safely — with their world-renowned Greek hospitality.