Greece launches tourism season, eyes pandemic recovery

May 15, 2021

ATHENS — Greece has officially launched its tourist season amid a competitive scramble across the Mediterranean to lure vacationers emerging from lockdowns.

Visitors from the EU as well as Britain, the United States, Serbia and Israel, are allowed to visit as long as they have been vaccinated or can show negative COVID-19 test results.

The country will also introduce vaccination certificates and accept jabs not yet used in the rest of the European Union, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis announced on Thursday.

Greece has been under coronavirus-related restrictions since early November but has gradually begun easing the measures as it gears up for the vital summer tourist season.

Tourism is a major revenue source for Greece, and the government is hoping international visitors will help bolster its ailing economy.

Last year, the number of visitors to Greece plummeted by 78.2% to 7.4 million — from a record 34 million in 2019 — according to official data, with a corresponding drop in tourism revenues.

Greece is hoping to claw back half the 2019 visitor level. It’s also vowed to finish vaccinating its entire island population of 1.5 million over the next six weeks. — Euronews

May 15, 2021
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