Πέμπτη, 25 Ιουνίου 2020

What It’s Really Like Traveling to Greece Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Flying to Greece from the United States in the Summer of 2020 during the Covid-19 era may sound like a frightening and unsettling Odyssey, much like the original trip undertaken in ancient Greece, but the breathtaking beauty of the final destination will be more than enough compensation.
Still, as Greek Reporter’s Anastasios Papapostolou discovered while flying last week from Newark’s Liberty International Airport to Athens via Switzerland, the overall traveling experience might be more tiresome or difficult than before, but if you are not in a high-risk group it may be worth it.
A mother of two from New York said her family is relocating to Greece for the near future. “Given that the situation in New York is bad and because we think it will not change much in the near future, we decided to make the move,” she tells Greek Reporter.
Another passenger, a mother of a Greek teacher in New York City who went to visit her daughter in March, and was stranded there because of travel cancellations, said “I hope to reach Greece by tomorrow, as my previous two flights were canceled.”
Most shops were shuttered at the Newark airport. “All restaurants, coffee shops and duty-free outlets are closed,” another Greek passenger, a resident of NYC, complained.
All passengers were making liberal use of hand sanitizer and were wearing masks and there was minimal contact with airport staff at the departing gate.
During the overnight flight, before they landed at Zurich International Airport, passengers were handed out a form to fill in where they were asked questions regarding their health history and whether or not they had been infected by Covid-19.

The Greek summer and its many beauties remain the same. Photo: Anastasios Papapostolou / Greek Reporter

After changing aircraft, they then began their flight to their final destination of Athens — and new forms were handed out to passengers to be filled in before they landed in the Greek capital.
Upon landing and entering the main terminal building, passengers underwent Covid-19 testing. The testing process, which takes less than twenty minutes, requires a saliva sample taken from the traveler.
The next day, when everyone hopefully receives their negative results, they are free to enjoy Greece.
The following is the most recently released list of rules for air passengers, as determined by Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Between June 15th-30th
International flights are allowed into Athens and Thessaloniki airports (however, there will be a continuation of the ban on flights from the United Kingdom and Turkey).
Arrivals to Athens Airport: If you originate from an EU + airport on the EASA affected area list or from Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Albania and North Macedonia, then you will be tested upon arrival.
An overnight stay, either at a designated hotel or at a hotel/residence of choice in Athens is then required. If the test is negative, the visitor is then free to travel to their final destination. If the test is positive, the visitor is quarantined under supervision for 14 days.
If your travel originated from all other airports, then you are only subject to random testing upon arrival.
Upon being tested, those visitors are free to travel to their final destination. If the test is positive, however, the visitor will then be quarantined under supervision for 14 days.
Arrivals to Thessaloniki Airport: All visitors will be tested upon arrival. An overnight stay either at a designated hotel or at a hotel/residence of choice in Thessaloniki is required.
July 1 and onward
International flights will be allowed into all airports in Greece.
Additional restrictions on non-essential travel from non-EU countries may be applicable, pending guidance from the European Union.

Δευτέρα, 8 Ιουνίου 2020

Greece Ready to Welcome Tourists from 29 Countries From June 15

Editor’s Note: The guidelines on who and when can travel to Greece have been changed and are described in detail here: Greece Opens to All Tourists Regardless of Nationality on June 15
Greece’s ministry of Tourism announced on Friday a list of 29 countries which it claims are relatively safe from the coronavirus and can send tourists to Greece starting on June 15.
The list is as follows:
  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
The Greek government will consider lifting the ban on citizens of other countries based on what it considers the success of pandemic control in each nation. Authorities say that the list of 29 countries will be expanded on or after July 1.
Currently, flights from the USA, UK, Russia, Italy, Spain, France and Brazil into Greece are banned.
Random coronavirus tests will be administered to arriving air passengers upon landing in Greece.

Τετάρτη, 20 Μαΐου 2020

Greece aims at post-COVID-19 tourism jumpstart

ATHENS – Still hoping to salvage a summer season with the gradual lifting of the COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis set a target date of July 1 for tourism to start.

That depends on whether there's any resurgence of the virus and how other countries deal with the easing of the pandemic, Mitsotakis having said while Greece will have strict health protocols that visitors should be checked before departures.

Speaking to some 500 executives and analysts of the Boston Consulting Group, via teleconference, Mitsotakis said the challenge for the tourism sector in Greece during the current, pandemic-battered year, is to acquire a bigger share of a much smaller "market pie” this year, said Kathimerini.

He also promised that a privatization program will go on and said there's more than ever a need for more investment in a "green economy" although critics said his New Democracy government wants to allow more development.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said letting organized beaches to reopen May 16 when a heatwave predicted to bring temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will be an “important test” as to whether social distancing requirements will be followed.

“Everyone is watching Greece because, so far, it has shown an exemplary response to the pandemic. Now we are called upon to demonstrate that, with rules and maturity, we can enjoy the beauty of our country safe during this summer,” he said.

This will be the best way to restarting domestic, but also foreign tourism, he added as beach clubs that violate the requirements to keep umbrellas and chaise lounges at least four meters (13.12 feet) apart will face heavy fines and could be closed.

A government plan on transportation, including for airlines, is due to be released on May 15 and will detail health protocols required for air, shipping and road transport, so that both travelers and businesses know the new rules, he said.

Tourism is the country's biggest revenue engine and brings in as much as 18-20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 185.29 billion euros ($200.3 billion,) needed more than ever this year.

Read more at thenationalherald.com
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