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Greece opens for tourists - VG

Greece opens for tourists – VG

Pfizer vaccine boxes are arriving on the Greek island of Naxos, where everyone will be vaccinated before the tourist season. Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis / AP / NTB

Greece kicked off the tourist season on Friday and hopes that tourists looking for the sun and beaches will bring in an income after last year’s miserable season.


– Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said, when the tourist season opened during a ceremony at the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion near Athens – we are loosening the berths.

Cafe and restaurant owners across the country started scratching their fingers after the start.

We wish a good season, and that people choose our country and island, says Alexandros Kokorakis, as he sets tables and chairs on the sidewalk outside his cafe in Chania, Crete.

Nurse Nicoletta Stergio arrives on a Coast Guard boat loaded with vaccines to the Greek island of Iraclea, where everyone from the tourist season will be vaccinated. Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis / AP / NTB

Vaccine or test card

According to government regulations, anyone traveling to the Greek islands must present a negative vaccine or coronavirus card.

TUI, the largest travel company in Europe, made 120 flights to Greece in May, the first six flights on Friday and 15 more on Sunday.

Most of the islands have less comprehensive health service than the mainland services, and the vaccination campaign for islanders is well underway.

The quiet streets of Chora in Naxos await tourists after Greece opened the season on Friday, after a miserable year last year. Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis / AP / NTB

Many were vaccinated

So far, 4 million vaccines have been administered in Greece, of which 1.4 million have received a second dose. Greece has a population of 10.8 million people.

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A problem arose when Britain placed Greece on its orange list, which meant that the British en route to their country would have to be quarantined for five days.

Not all destinations are open in Greece either. Due to the massive outbreak, Kalymnos is under severe lockdown.

Hit hard

The pandemic has hit Greece, which is highly dependent on the tourism sector, which accounts for 20 percent of GDP. In 2020, revenues decreased from 18 to 4.3 billion euros, and tourism receipts decreased by 76 percent.

The Greek government is keen that the European Union present a vaccine certificate as soon as possible allowing travel within the Union.

The opening in Greece means that Greeks can now travel around their country for the first time since November.