Holidays: Simon Calder reveals how travel situation is looking
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Greece holidays have been sorely missed by British holidaymakers during the Covid pandemic. However, a start date for their return has now been given. Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis said the country is opening to tourists on May 14.
This comes just in time for Britons for whom travel for non-essential reasons resumes from May 17.
Theoharis explained all tourists will be allowed into Greece.
Those who have not had a vaccine will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test.
Travellers who had antibodies will also be permitted to enter.
“We aim to open tourism by May 14 with specific rules and updated protocols,” Theoharis told the IBT Berlin tourism fair.
“Until then, we will gradually lift restrictions if conditions allow.”
He continued: “We are approaching the exit from this dark tunnel thanks to the power of the human spirit and the progress of science.
“Please allow me to emphasise that no image could better portray the return to the normality of tourism than the Greek smile, the Greek landscape, the Greek hospitality.
“Regarding 2021, in Greece we are more than optimistic.
“We are ready, we are ready to share the experience of liberation from the unpleasant memories of the pandemic with each and every one of our guests.
A “pilot” reopening of borders is likely to take place early next month, Theoharis said.
Over the weekend, the tourism minister was urging Britons to “book holidays” now.
Currently, the Greek government is prioritising vaccinating inhabitants of islands that have a population of less than 1,000.
This includes Halki, Kastellorizo, Meganisi and Kythir, according to The Telegraph.
Following this, larger islands such as Corfu and Santorini will then see the vaccine rolled out.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Theoharis said Britons can “book flights and start choosing the places where they want to go.”
Tour operators have welcomed the news that Greece holidays can go ahead in the summer.
David Child, head of brand for Thomas Cook, said: “Greece is the most popular holiday destination for our customers this summer and it’s great news that the country is going to be so welcoming to Brits once international travel is allowed.
“The islands of Greece remain some of our most in-demand holiday spots with Crete, Zante and Rhodes favourites for families. Santorini and Mykonos are proving particularly popular with couples looking to splash out after months of lockdown.
“We expect to see continued high demand for Greek holidays throughout the summer and would hope we could encourage people to stay even longer this year well into late-Autumn and beyond given the later start to the season.”
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