Santorini Greece

Greece Plans On Reopening For Tourists On July 1st, Says Prime Minister

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many tourism industries throughout the world are struggling to figure out when they’ll be able to return to a sense of normalcy. Different countries and cultural destinations have set up various virtual tours and experiences for those who are quarantined and fighting their wanderlust urges everyday, while others have already begun planning for their big reopening post-pandemic, whenever that may be. 

Greece, to be more specific, is optimistically hoping that they’ll be able to reopen their country’s doors to tourists by the beginning of July, just with some major changes. Lockdown policies in general have begun to lift in Europe, since they’ve been issuing stay-at-home orders for much longer than we have here in the US, however, most of the continent still needs to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. 

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According to Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the country will be reopening to tourists on July 1st with some major adjustments made to protect everyone from possible infection. For example, visitors of the country can expect to still be able to sightsee and go to all the white-sandy beaches that Greece is famous for, however, they likely won’t be able to participate in any sort of nightlife activities, which also makes up a majority of the revenue for Greece’s tourism industry. 

“The tourism experience this summer may be slightly different from what you’ve had in previous years. Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece — provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path,” Mitsotakis said in a recent interview

According to Johns Hopkins University, which has been recording data relating to the coronavirus pandemic since the beginning of the year, Greece has greatly been able to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections and have only experienced 147 coronavirus-related deaths. The rates of infection have remained so low that children are even expected to return to school next week to finish off their year. 

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Hotels within the city are also projecting to reopen in the beginning of June. If everything goes as planned, Prime Minister Mitsotakis intends for Greece to focus its attention on bringing back smaller tourism activities first and bringing in a higher end luxury customer market. The goal is to have these guests stay in boutique hotels while they embark on intimate excursions such as yachting and agrotourism. 

This way, these higher-end customers can likely spend more money and help Greece’s tourism market recover quicker. As of right now, every international traveler who arrives in Greece must land in Athens and go through a health screening. This screening involves a test for Covid-19 that has rapid results and Mitsotakis is hoping they can expand this program to other countries within Europe to make intercontinental travel easier.

In a recent video conference Mitsotakis also proposed that the country creates “safe corridors” for citizens from countries that have a stable coronavirus response, like Greece itself, so that all parties involved feel more comfortable that they won’t be infected; he’s already made calls to Austria, Denmark, Israel, and Singapore to do so. 

While other countries in Europe are also starting to lift their quarantine policies, only time will tell when we’ll all be able to travel confidently and safely again. For now, it’s important that we continue to listen to our healthcare providers and remain indoors.