Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis has called on UK authorities not to place the country in the UK’s amber category for travel, claiming that “Greece is a safe country” for tourists.
British holidaymakers are reluctant to travel abroad because quarantine rules on their way home could change even for vaccinated travelers due to the high number of COVID-19 infections, TheSchengen.com reports.
Nearly 2,700 coronavirus cases were reported in Greece last week, marking a sevenfold increase over the past three weeks.
However, Greece’s 14-day positive case rate per 100,000 citizens is 167 compared to the UK’s rate of 440.
According to the former Greek Tourism Minister, Harry Teorharis, the country should remain on the amber list.
Greece is a safe country. The vaccination campaign and program are continuing unabated,” said Theorharris, noting that nearly 60 percent of the population has been vaccinated.
Tourism is an important factor in the Greek economy with about 20 percent of GDP coming from this sector. Arrivals from Germany, France and Poland boosted the number of visitors to about 50 percent last month, after a year of almost inactivity.
However, recent restrictions on the island of Mykonos have hampered tourism since this summer could be another tough season for the country.
Restaurants and bars were banned from playing music last week, and a nighttime curfew was imposed. Shops, cafes and beach bars have been ordered to ban music.
The ministry said that measures were taken to “control the virus and quickly contain its spread” as infection rates continued to rise in the country.
Greece is currently placed on the UK’s amber list, which means that people coming from the country must undergo a ten-day quarantine, whether or not they have been vaccinated.
As previously reported by TheSchengen.com, Denmark has removed Greece from the list of safe countries due to the high infection rates of the detected coronavirus.
Previously, EUROSTAT, the European statistics provider, revealed that Greece has been one of the hardest-hit countries since tourism has seen a drop of more than 60 percent.
The Republic of Greece will receive 800 million euros to support businesses in the tourism sector that have been significantly affected by the pandemic.
This €800 million Greek scheme will facilitate access to liquidity for companies operating in the tourism sector. “They have been hit hard by the pandemic, and this scheme will help ensure the continuity of their economic activity in these challenging times,” said Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.
For those interested in traveling to Greece, here are instructions on entry requirements, which are updated regularly.