Athens, May 13 (EFE).- Greece is ready to reopen its doors to tourism starting Friday, despite the increased severity of the coronavirus pandemic this year. The country’s tourism minister, Harry Theocharis told EFE Greece was ready to receive foreign visitors thanks to the new tools at its disposal to prevent the spread of the virus.
Unlike last year, the minister believes that we have three new ways to tackle Covid: knowledge, vaccines and tests.
“As we vaccinate more and more people, the pressure on the health system is decreasing,” the minister said.
As of Friday, foreigners from a long list of countries will be allowed to enter the country, and a national travel ban will be lifted, enabling Greeks to travel domestically.
But despite reopening, tourists and locals will still have to abide by some health regulations. “There will be the same rules for tourists and Greeks, there will not be two set of rules,” he said.
The minister is particularly proud that the vaccination campaign is taking place even in Greece’s most remote islands. Unlike the rest of the country, where the population is being inoculated by age groups, entire islands are getting vaccinated from smallest to middle sized.
Theocharis said a national version of the green passport designed by the EU will be implemented for travel between the islands. He said it would be ready by June 1, just in time for the start of the summer season.
“We are being proactive about this,” he said, adding that there are studies that have shown that compared to other activities, tourism carries a “low risk” for the spread of the virus.
Despite trusting that everyone will eventually open their borders, Theoharis is hopeful but cautious about the 2021 summer season. “It will be a better year than 2020, but more complicated,” he said. EFE