Greece welcomes tourists again but faces great deal of uncertainty
Athens, May 14 (EFE).- Greece lifted restrictions for travelers Friday, allowing tourists to visit the country, but the sector is still crippled by uncertainty.
Visitors arriving to Greek islands by plane or ferry will need to provide documentation proving they are fully vaccinated, a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before the trip, a rapid Covid-19 self-test taken in the previous 24 hours, or that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the past two to nine months.
Ferries to the islands will run at 85 % maximum capacity.
Although museums and stores will also reopen, with slight limitations on the number of clients allowed indoors, the removal of restrictions is mostly aimed at revitalizing the tourism sector, which accounts for 25-30 % of Greek GDP.
According to the Bank of Greece, revenue from the travel industry in 2020 dropped by 76.2 %, to 4,300 million euro.
Arrivals plummeted by 78.2 % to 7.4 million visitors in 2020, after a record-breaking 2019.
Tourism agencies are counting on last-minute trips to carry this year’s high season, amid lingering uncertainties over a third Covid-19 wave spreading across Europe.
The Greek government insists that safety measures will be enforced and no risks will be taken in reopening the economy.
Greek infection rates remain high, at roughly 270 infected per 100,000 in the last 14 days, and 162 in the last week.
By the end of June, the government expects to wrap up vaccination campaigns in the country’s islands, which are more vulnerable due to their weaker health care systems. EFE