Greece might be among the first few European countries to open borders for Summer travel, whose tourism-reliant economy has been shaken in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the government says, repairing the economy will in no way be at the expense of people’s health and safety.
By posting prompt rules and early lockdowns, Greece managed to stunt new COVID-19 cases and prevails over most of its European counterparts in this matter. As many shops, restaurants and saloons recommence this week, authorities say Greece might open its borders for travel by July 1, although expect travelling around Greece to be different this time.
Greece prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis takes a realistic approach when he tells CNN ,
“The tourism experience this time may be different from what you’ve had in previous years. Expect bars to be closed, and crowds to be almost non-existent.” But he still promises an amazing holiday as Greece slowly inches towards the new normal, cautiously and diligently.
But opening international tourism means letting the guard down on potential COVID carriers from various sources on a scale unimaginable. Greece is prepared for this with certain protocols, says the authorities.
Every traveller will undergo health screening when they arrive in Athens and will be checked for COVID-19 symptoms. Tourism will resume at a micro level, with focus on low-contact activities, staycation and cluster tours before it’s scaled up to include the typical and macro-level aspects of tourism.
There’s one catch, it’s still unclear whom Greece will grant access to. At least 20% of Greece’s revenue results from international tourism and many airlines are yet to resume their services. On a recent meeting with world leaders from countries like Austria, Denmark, Australia, Norway, etc, Kyriakos Mitsotakis proposed the idea of “safe corridors” for tourism, similar to Australia – New Zealand travel bubble, which means opening borders to countries with a clean pandemic response record.
As most European countries such as France and Spain relax lockdown and envision better days ahead, they look up to Greece’s tourism test run for deciding when to follow suit — if not immediately.