BRITISH tourists could return to Greece in time for the summer holidays as the government looks at resuming holidays in the next few months.
Greece’s Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis has said the country should prepare for the holiday season to begin in July.
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Brits could return to Greece by July – just in time for the summer holidaysCredit: EPA
The country welcomed almost four million British tourists last year with popular package holidays to islands such as Kos, Zante and Santorini.
They have also managed to keep coronavirus numbers low, with 2,245 confirmed cases and 120 deaths.
However, it could means the tourist season only runs for three months.
Mr Theoharis explained the focus was now on ensuring the season began in July and ran at the very least through to September, even if a lot of hotels were on course not to open this year.
It follows reports that up to 65 per cent of hotels in Greece could face bankruptcy due to plummeting profits.
He said to SKAI TV on Tuesday: “As time passes demand will rise because trust will rise too. Cancellations have now stopped.”
He added that he would be speaking to tourism operators later this week to see how health safeguard measures would unfold.
The country has managed to keep coronavirus cases low but remains closed to touristsCredit: Reuters The tourism minister hopes hotels will open in time for the summer holidaysCredit: Alamy
The country has already extended their flight ban until mid-May to try and prevent the spread of the virus.
Greece is also considering enforcing “health passports” which would see tourists tested for the virus before boarding a flight to the country.
Mr Theoharis said it was just “being discussed,” adding: “Of course we have to agree with other EU countries and that is why we are pushing for us all to sit around the table to discuss [this].”
A lot, he said, still needed to be worked out including what would be “the most realistic” way of conducting tests so that they are credible and not time consuming.
“What people and tour operators are waiting for, is for us to all agree on health safeguard procedures and the announcement of a clear time-table so that we can start opening hotels,” he added.
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“In my view if we go about [conducting] tests country-by-country it will be very difficult, but if we all agree from the start then we could do them at entry points … at the airport … It would, to give it a name, be a health passport of sorts.”
The possibility of “immunity certificates” has been raised increasingly in recent weeks.
Turkey recently announced plans to force tourists to have Covid-free documents before entering the country, proving that they do not have the virus, while Thailand began enforcing them on non-locals before the lockdown.
Issues have been raised about how this would be implemented, with the UK not issuing such documents.
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Turkey is set to welcome British tourists back to the country by July while Austria may not open for UK visitors until after the summer.
Others are much less optimistic.
Portugal and Australia warn tourists that the country may not welcome international travellers back until 2021.
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