Greece Repeats: US Tourists Still Welcome, EU Advisory Not


(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Thanassis Dimopoulos, file)

ATHENS – Disregarding European Union recommendations that visitors from the United States aren't safe because of the rising COVID-19 pandemic there and should face tests and restrictions, Greece has kept the doors open to them.

“Greece will continue to receive visitors from the US until the end of the tourist season,” Greece Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias pointed out in a statement, reported.

He said Americans can continue to visit Greece without being subject to COVID-19 related restrictions or worries about being quarantined, the country anxious for that important market to stay open.

Kikilias, who recently was removed as Health Minister and replaced Haris Theocharis as Tourism Minister, with no explanation why from the government, said the US is a significant market “which creates added value in the country’s economy,” the report added.

“Visitors and tourism professionals in the United States of America, and, of course, Greeks abroad, have shown and continue to show their love for Greece and their trust in the Greek tourism product,” Kikilias emphasized.

The Council of Europe has, however, removed the US from the list of countries considered epidemiologically safe, urging the 27 Member States to tighten their travel restrictions for arrivals from the US and ban non-essential travel.

But Greece got an out, put on a list of countries that found the Council of the EU’s recommendation non-binding and rejected it, Americans among the biggest arrivals during a summer season far better than expected.

A recent NOTAM of the Greek Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) showed Greece would ignore the EU advisory, the country trying to lure visitors year-round, including from the US, to help an economy battered by previous lockdowns.