The island of Crete in Greece welcomed on Friday the first two cruise ships of the year with an impressive spectacle, to mark the beginning of the tourism season of 2021.
The ”Silver Explorer” and ”Silver Moon” ships arrived at Chania’s Souda port without passengers on Friday to get all the necessary works done before they welcome their first tourists of the season.
Authorities from Chania created a spectacular water arch, through which the two vessels sailed by before entering the Cretan port.
The luxury cruise ship “Silver Moon,” which a new vessel, will start its voyages from Greece on June 18. The ”Silver Explorer”, which has a capacity of just 110 passengers, used to make special cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic. In fact, Friday was the first time it reached European shores.
Following the coronavirus protection protocols faithfully, the cruise companies that will come to Greece operate their ships with 75 percent of their total capacity.
Greece opens to tourism amid coronavirus
Greece’s plans for opening to tourism on Friday while keeping people safe from the coronavirus included entry requirements, comprehensive vaccination campaigns at tourist hotspots, and vaccine passports.
All those who travel to Greece will need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) a day before arriving. People entering the country, regardless of entrance point, will also need to either provide proof of a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours prior to touchdown or a certificate showing they have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the first flights from abroad touched down on Greece’s Mykonos and Rhodes on Thursday.
Not Just Cruise Ships: “All you want is Greece”
Tourism Minister Theocharis announced a new multimillion-euro promotional campaign on Thursday. Theocharis was joined by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) chief Dimitris Fragakis at Cape Sounion, near Athens, to present the new campaign.
The new motto for encouraging people to travel to Greece is “All you want is Greece;” the slogan will be utilized in a series of five videos targeting different key markets.
Additionally, the GNTO will work with 18 airlines and 76 tour operators on a promotional plan budgeted at 10.6 million euros. They are also investing in “smart” digital campaigns, budgeted at 12.3 million euros.
A new GNTO platform under the existing name “Visit Greece” went live on Thursday. Fragakis explained that this platform will be explained in more detail at a later date.
This comes as a bid to boost the struggling Greek economy, which fell a staggering 8% last year. Tourism revenue, a vital part of the economy, plunged to 4.28 billion euros ($5.0 billion) in 2020 from 18 billion euros ($21 billion) in 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of tourist arrivals also fell 76.5 percent, to just 7.4 million, according to the Greek Tourism Confederation Institute.