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Tourism Kicks Off in Greece With Most Direct Flights From US Ever

Greece opens its borders to tourism
The Mykonos International Airport is expecting to receive tourists from a number of countries this year. Photo credit: Anastasios Papapostolou / Greek Reporter

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis forecasted a strong rebound for tourism in Greece on Tuesday during a virtual meeting organized by Hessischer Kreis Forum and the Boston Consulting Group.

Mitsotakis also stressed that the health and safety of both travelers and residents will not be compromised as the country welcomes tourists from around the world and has almost completely reopened after months of lockdown.

“This summer is going to be different,” the Greek PM announced during the online meeting.

Tourists are encouraged to visit the country this summer as it follows strict hygiene protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Highest-ever number of direct US-Greece flights planned for this summer

With many millions of Americans being fully vaccinated, the interest in traveling to Greece is increasing all the time.

As a result, major tour operators and airlines have added a record-high number of new direct flights to the country to meet the burgeoning demand.

“This summer we have more direct flights from the US than we’ve ever had, which shows that Americans want to travel to Greece,” the Greek Prime Minister noted on Tuesday.

According to the British bank HSBC, the anticipated increase in tourism this year is poised to add 2% to Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to a new report released on Thursday.

As islands are usually the main points of tourist interest, the country embarked upon an ambitious program of vaccinating all island residents this past spring. According to the Greek government, all island residents will be vaccinated, regardless of age, by June 25.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the percentage of fully vaccinated people in Greece is higher than other European countries with similar populations, such as Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Entry requirements for visitors from the United States

Even though the country has done away most of its existing lockdown restrictions, there are still many health requirements in place to enter Greece.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Greece, all passengers 5 years or older traveling to Greece by air or ferry to the Greek islands must provide a proof of vaccination, with the last dose administered at least 14 days prior to travel.

Alternatively, if they have not been vaccinated, they should be able to show the results of a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours before their trip.

For ferry travel, passengers may also show a negative rapid or self-test that was taken 24 hours before their trip.

All airline and ferry personnel will be responsible for checking that passengers have the required documentation with them before boarding the ferry or aircraft.

“All you want is Greece” tourism campaign

In an attempt to revive tourism to Greece, the Greek National Tourism Organization has dreamed up a new motto to encourage people to travel to the country “All you want is Greece.”

The slogan was used in a series of five videos targeting different key markets.

This comes as a bid to boost the struggling Greek economy, which fell a staggering 8% overall last year.

Tourism revenue, a vital part of the economy, plunged to 4.28 billion euros ($5.0 billion) in 2020 from an all-time high of 18 billion euros ($21 billion) in 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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