Greek summer holiday! Athens breaks EU ranks to welcome vaccinated British tourists in May

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Greek Tourism minister Haris Theoharis said the country hopes to welcome foreign tourists from May 14, depending on the status of the coronavirus pandemic. In a boost for UK holidaymakers, the Southern European country is set to ignore the EU Commission’s demands of a united holiday strategy for the bloc.

During a virtual appearance at travel trade show ITB Berlin, Mr Theoharis commented: “We are approaching the exit from this dark tunnel thanks to the power of the human spirit and the progress of science.

“Please allow me to emphasise that no image could better portray the return to the normality of tourism than the Greek smile, the Greek landscape, the Greek hospitality.

“Regarding 2021, in Greece we are more than optimistic.

“We are ready, we are ready to share the experience of liberation from the unpleasant memories of the pandemic with each and every one of our guests.”

Visitors will be required to have been vaccinated, had a recent negative Covid-19 test or have coronavirus antibodies, he explained.

A “pilot” reopening of borders is likely to take place early next month, he added.

People living in England could be permitted to take foreign holidays from May 17 under Boris Johnson’s road map for easing coronavirus restrictions.

The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce will provide a report to the Prime Minister on April 12 setting out recommendations for how and when overseas leisure trips could resume.

Greece is one of the most popular summer destinations for UK holidaymakers.

British nationals usually make more than three million visits to the country each year, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The decision followed that of fellow EU state Cyprus, which also announced last week it would allow vaccinated UK tourists to enter from May 1.

At the moment, international travel from the UK is banned until May 17.

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Exceptions include travelling for work when it is absolutely necessary to do so, travelling home from a job abroad or for those who are moving to a different country i.e for work purposes or if they’re an international student.

Medical appointments and caring obligations will also permit you to travel, although every country has its own guidelines and self-isolating requirements.

Cruise holidays will also be able to go ahead from May.

Maritime minister Robert Courts told the All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Group (APPMPG) that UK cruises can go ahead from May 17, in the latest cruise news.

Courts said getting domestic voyages back in business is being worked on by the Government.

Sailings from English ports can resume from May 17 in a much-needed boost fo the cruise industry.

The minister pointed out that cruise lines have gone to great lengths to ensure passengers and crew will be safe on board with stringent cleaning and Covid testing measures in place.

Some cruise lines are even demanding that holidaymakers must be vaccinated in order to sail.

However, the exact measures cruisers can expect to see are yet to be confirmed, said Courts.

A Department for Transport spokesman said after the announcement: “The restart of domestic cruises in England will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors.

“As set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap, the earliest possible date for this step is May 17.

“We are committed to restarting cruise travel when it is safe to do so, and we are working closely with the sector to prepare for a safe and successful restart.”

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