Greece formally opens tourism to vaccinated, COVID-negative guests


2021-05-16 01:36:37

Greece formally opened to guests on Saturday, kicking off a summer time season it hopes will resurrect its important tourism business battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

After months of lockdown restrictions, Greece additionally opened its museums this week, together with the Acropolis museum, house to famend sculptures from Greek antiquity.

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“I really feel actually alive and good as a result of it has been such a long and hard 12 months due to COVID,” stated Victoria Sanchez, a 22-year-old scholar on vacation from the Czech Republic.

“I really feel once more alive,” she stated, as she strolled close to the Roman Agora in downtown Athens.

As of Saturday, international vacationers will likely be allowed in Greece if they’ve been vaccinated or can present detrimental COVID-19 take a look at outcomes. Journey between areas, together with to the islands, may also be allowed for these with detrimental exams or vaccinations.

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“Greece is providing what folks want,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis tweeted. “Calm and care-free moments on the street in direction of normality.”

Vacationers in Athens had been elated.

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“I’m lastly right here,” stated Rebecca, a vacationer in Athens from Florida, who declined to present her final identify. “I’ve been ready two years – two years with the COVID.”

Greece has been rolling out vaccines to its islands and hopes to vaccinate most of them by the top of June. The federal government says vaccines and fast testing, in addition to hotter climate permitting out of doors actions, imply guests can journey safely.

Because the pandemic introduced worldwide journey to a halt in 2020, Greece suffered its worst 12 months for tourism on report, with 7 million guests in contrast with a report 33 million in 2019. Vacationer revenues tumbled to 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) from 18 billion euros.

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This 12 months, it’s aiming for 40 per cent of 2019 ranges.

On the island of Mykonos, one flight was given a water salute upon touchdown. 4 islands within the south Aegean, together with Mykonos, acquired 32 worldwide flights on Saturday from nations together with Sweden, Germany and Qatar.

Corfu, within the Ionian sea, welcomed guests from Germany and France.

“We’re so completely satisfied. I’m completely satisfied to be right here,” stated Pierre-Olivier Garcia, quickly after arriving on the island.

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Greeks additionally welcomed the lifting of lockdown measures, with scores of individuals leaving for the islands or vacation properties on the mainland on Saturday.

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“The primary weekend of freedom,” Alpha TV proclaimed throughout a broadcast from the busy port of Piraeus.

Greece fared higher than a lot of Europe in the course of the first wave of the pandemic, however rising infections later in 2020 pressured it to impose a number of lockdowns to guard its struggling well being system.

A rustic of 11 million, it has recorded 373,881 infections and 11,322 deaths.

Reporting by Vassilis Triandafyllou and Phoebe Fronista in Athens and Spyros Skordilis in Corfu

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