It was projected to attract about 30 million tourists in the following year. T he Greek Tourism Ministry has announced that, as of June 15, people from 29 countries will be allowed to enter Greece on direct flights to Athens and to the northern city of Thessaloniki. UK tourism accounts for almost 25% of visitors to Greece and in some islands and regions, the percentage is even higher. Last modified on Fri 17 Jul 2020 10.58 EDT. British tourists are 'UNLIKELY' to be allowed to return to Greece when it reopens in June due to UK's 'medical status', tourism minister admits Haris Theoharis said UK is … The spectre of people arriving from a country with “so many cases and so many deaths”, in the words of Greek health officials, has stoked fears of “imported incidents” and unease on islands that had so far remained remarkably coronavirus-free. GREECE is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Brits, and the country has just had around 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus compared to the UK's 280,000. All rights reserved. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. “If the test is positive, the passenger is quarantined under supervision for 14 days,” the ministry of foreign affairs said. Government looks to soften financial blow of Covid-19, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. The easing of lockdown measures started in early May, with hair salons, sports shops and bookstores allowed to open as long as they follow strict hygiene and social distancing measures. In a country that has recorded fewer than 4,000 cases and 193 deaths to date, epidemiologists are expressing their concern. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? The reopening date for all tourists to Greece has been brought forward–to June 15. Clarifying how tourism would work from mid-June a day later, Greek officials said travellers would still be allowed from other countries – but they would all be tested and have to self-quarantine for seven days if the test comes back negative. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. However, some of the world’s worst-affected countries – including the UK, France, Italy and Spain – are not included on the list, which was drawn up based on a document from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. But their arrival is also being treated with trepidation. An employee wears a face mask at a beach of Varkiza as Greece gradually eases lockdown restrictions (Getty Images). “We always enjoy the company of our friends from the UK,” he told Sky News as air links resumed on Wednesday. Greeks were “very, very happy” that Britons were finally returning, Harry Theoharis said. On Zakynthos and other Ionian isles that rely almost exclusively on British tourism, the relief is almost palpable. Travellers from Scotland are still permitted to travel to Greece, but will have to self isolate for two weeks upon their return. Read our full mailing list consent terms here. The growing trend makes Greece one of the most visited countries not only in Europe but also in the world. The country's tourism industry contributes to about 18% of its Gross Domestic Product. Only 60% of our hotels are open but they are beginning to come,” he said. It will be expanded on 1 July to include more countries, the tourism ministry said. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. If you are Israeli coming directly from Isreal with the PCR test, you MAY be permitted entry into Greece. In 2015, Greece attracted approximately 26.5 million tourists. Answer 1 of 16: It’s unfair on some social media sites to read Greece may stop UK tourists entering because of our high cases of Covid, rumours or is it likely to happen. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Greece is likely to ban Brits when it reopens for tourists due to our poor coronavirus record. - Greece's prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has urged the nation to brace for what he calls "a very difficult tourist period" ahead of the resumption of international flights to all destinations on Wednesday. Coronavirus: Greece extends travel ban on UK visitors for two weeks. Local media reports suggest up to 6,000 visitors from the UK will be tested this week, with soldiers being deployed to specially assembled health units on islands to administer swabs. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. A total of 2,909 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the country, according to figures on Saturday. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Air-corridors are underway and Greece is one of the countries on the list, however, UK tourists were still banned when the country opened up to other visitors on the 1st July. How does the Government think we will fill the hotels, villas, tavernas etc? There has been a significant rise in infections since Greece reopened its borders on 1 July – with officials reporting more than 500 cases, and hospital admissions rising from 41 to 83 in less than two weeks. Greece imposed a lockdown early in its coronavirus outbreak, a move which has been credited with keeping the number of infections down. ... as British tourists prepare to descend on the country again. Very worrying if like me your going in a fortnight. With over 31 million tourists in 2019, three times its population, Greece has more than doubled its number of visitors in 10 years and billions have been invested in services and infrastructure. Greece is already facing an increase in coronavirus cases after international tourists were welcomed back on July 1. … Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. The latest news on Greece’s tourism industry, including articles on hotels, investments, airlines, destinations, B2B events and trends, by Greek Travel Pages. Their absence would cost €2.56bn for an industry that, at close to 25% of GDP, is the nation’s biggest. Visitgreece.gr is the official tourism web site for Greece, run by the Greek National Tourism Organisation, where you'll find information on the main tourist destinations, such as cities, beaches, as well as activities, events and much more! While Greece has reopen its borders to more international visitors on Wednesday, July 1, flights carrying passengers from the united kingdom will be restricted, sources told the Athens news agency. Signs that COVID-19 has mutated into a new strain in the United Kingdom has led Greece to require arriving travelers from there to undergo a seven-day … As a result, UK holidaymakers are having to undergo mass testing in airport lounges nationwide. “Too high a percentage would endanger the Greek population, and tourism more generally and we couldn’t accept that.”, Available for everyone, funded by readers. (Video by Press Association) British tourists could become pariahs in Europe, as Greece left the UK off a list of low Covid-19 countries from which holidaymakers can come to visit. “If the number and percentage of those found to be positive is low, and is limited to under 30 to 40 cases, then with constant inspections and epidemiological oversight, the British tourist market will remain open.”. Greece restarted regular ferry services from the mainland to its islands on Monday and cafes and restaurants were also back open for business as the country accelerated efforts to salvage its tourism season. Direct flights from the UK to Greece are set to resume from next week in a boost to British holidaymakers, it was revealed today. This is a relatively low number compared with elsewhere in the European Union. The decision by Greece comes as the UK released a list of 74 countries, including Greece, which English tourists can now visit without having to quarantine upon their return. Greece has extended its ban on flights from UK airports until July 15, it has been reported. Flights had been suspended since March, although that didn’t stop Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, travelling to his Aegean villa despite British nationals also having been advised to avoid all but essential international travel. Holidaymakers will be allowed from 15 June as the Greek government looks to soften the financial blow of coronavirus. Love them, or loathe them, British tourists are back in Greece and Athens’ tourism minister has wasted no time in expressing his delight. You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. Do you need a face mask and where can you buy one? It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. UK lockdown: Can I see my family and friends under new rules? You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. And it appears Theoharis’s feeling is reciprocated: within 24 hours of the flight ban being lifted, around 1,200 Britons had landed in Greece. Tourists can visit Greece again from mid-June, its tourism ministry has said – although there will be blanket testing for people coming from certain countries, including the UK. Please contact Greek border police or the consulate for confirmation. 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