Britain announced on Thursday that fully vaccinated tourists and other travelers will no longer have to quarantine on their return from amber list countries from 19 July.
At present, travelers arriving from a country on the amber list, which includes top tourist destinations Greece, Spain, France, the United States and Italy, are required to isolate on arrival.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said those who have received two jabs will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days after their return to the UK – but will still have to take a PCR test on their second day back.
Britain scraps quarantine for tourists
“I can confirm today that from 19 July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England,” Shapps said.
“They will still be required to take a test three days before returning, the pre-departure test, demonstrating they’re negative before they travel, and a PCR test on or before day two, but they will no longer be required to take a day eight test.
“In essence, this means that for fully vaccinated travelers, the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same.”
But he warned that amber list countries could still turn red – and said there would be no changes made for people arriving from those places.
Arrivals from red list countries are required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel.
British tourists a major lifeline for Greece
The announcement by Britain is expected to be received with a sigh of relief by Greece, where the tourism industry has been suffering enormous loses due to the coronavirus crisis.
Britain- along with Germany- are the two main tourist markets for Greece.
The Greek tourism industry is revising downwards its forecasts for this year’s revenues, in view of a new fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
Industry insiders say that the goal set earlier this year to recover 50 percent of tourism activity in 2019 (about 9.1 billion euros) is now considered unattainable.
Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis maintained his optimism in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini earlier in the week.
Given that June was essentially the opening month of Greek tourism in 2021, Theocharis said the data regarding the number of travelers is encouraging.
“We did much better than the corresponding month last year, while now the decision of the British government to lift the restrictions on its vaccinated citizens is very important and we expect a positive impact on Greek tourism,” he said.
He also noted that many British tourists, despite the recent obligation to quarantine after returning to their country, chose to visit Greece.