NEW YORK – Forbes featured five Greek destinations among the 15 in the article titled, “COVID Passport: The 15 Best European Destinations Ready for Vaccinated Travelers,” on March 7.
“As the European Commission prepares to present a project to issue a digital vaccination passport, some European Union member countries are ready to recognize the document and are implementing lighter conditions for vaccinated travelers in an effort to rescue summer tourism,” Forbes reported.
“With a tourism industry that provides 27 million jobs throughout Europe and generates around 10% of the E.U.'s GDP, countries across the continent are desperate to encourage the return of summer tourists with the ‘digital green pass’ or vaccination passport appearing as the best scheme to facilitate travel to the EU,” Forbes reported, adding that “the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, supports the project of a common vaccination certificate and the World Health Organization is working on an international certificate.”
“Whether in digital or paper form, the vaccine passport or proof of vaccination will be issued by the country of origin and will allow travelers to move around Europe and to come to Europe from abroad, without having to do additional COVID-19 tests or enter quarantine,” Forbes reported, noting that “the document will state the name, date of birth, health system identification, type and date of the test and specific vaccines (date of the two doses taken), including respect for the immunization period according to the instructions for each vaccine.”
“Many European countries already are committed to recognizing passports issued not only in the continent but by other countries at the international level as well,” Forbes reported, adding that “at the top of the list of countries that have already committed to welcoming visitors who have a vaccination certificate (also known as vaccine passport, COVID-19 passport or corona passport) is Iceland, the first European country issuing COVID-19 passports to its vaccinated citizens.”
Iceland “is prepared to recognize vaccination certificates starting with the ones issued by 26 other European countries belonging to the Schengen Area,” Forbes reported, noting that “Greece and Portugal (especially the autonomous regions of Madeira Islands and the Azores) as well as Georgia, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic, are moving in the same direction and starting to implement lightened health measures for vaccinated travelers by issuing vaccine passports for their vaccinated citizens and by recognizing vaccine passports/vaccination certificates issued by other E.U. and non-E.U. countries.”
“Working with the tourism ministries of the European Union, European Best Destinations (EBD), which is part of the European Commission’s EDEN Network (European Destinations of Excellence) has assembled a list of the 15 ‘best destinations for vaccinated travelers,’” Forbes reported, adding that “the EU website, reopen.europa.eu, provides real-time travel regulations for each EU country.”
EBD also “has information on how to get the vaccine passport and how to travel in Europe without a vaccine passport,” Forbes reported.
Among the destinations ready for travelers with their vaccine passports, according to Forbes, are five in Greece- Kefalonia, Rethymno, Athens, Rhodes and Kos.
Kefalonia was “voted as one of the top 2021 destinations,” and “is considered among the most beautiful Greek islands,” Forbes reported, adding that “less affected by COVID-19 than other European countries, Greece quickly established itself as a safe destination in Europe.”
“With restaurants and cafes reopening from mid-April and a wide range of private accommodation (villas, tourist apartments) and miles-long beaches allowing sanitary distances to be respected, Kefalonia is ready for this year’s summer holidays,” Forbes reported, and recommended visiting “Melissani Lake, classified among the best nature wonders of Greece, as well as Xi Beach, an orange-sand beach classified among the most beautiful beaches in Greece.”
Rethymno, Crete, was on the list for its “beautiful lighthouse, a Venetian harbor crowded with fishing boats, a fortress, hiking trails on foot or by bike and great beaches,” Forbes reported, noting that “Agia Galini, Plakias, Bali, and Adelianos Kampos are among the most famous beaches of the region, along with the famous ‘Preveli Heart Rock,’ a beach that has a very Instagrammed heart-shaped rock with various monasteries in the vicinity.”
Athens was also on the list as “Greece has been among the first countries to agree to the issue of vaccination certificates,” and “the country already has struck a deal to welcome tourists from Israel if they have a vaccine passport and Cyprus has announced that it will welcome tourists starting May 1 as long as they have had two doses of any vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA),” Forbes reported.
“For a safe getaway in Europe, Athens is a very good choice,” EBD said, Forbes reported. “Athens is a destination that combines safety and leisure with history, shops, monuments, restaurants, cafes and the beach nearby.”
Rhodes “is one of the best destinations to visit in Greece, according to EBD,” Forbes reported, adding that “this sublime medieval city is one of the best-preserved in Europe. When visiting Rhodes do not miss the Ancient Acropolis of Lindos, the historic Rhodes Old Town, the Palace of the Grand Master and relax in Agios Pavlos beach.”
Kos “is another of the most beautiful islands in Greece,” Forbes reported, noting that it is “the ‘perfect Greek island’ for those looking for a holiday combining sea, sun and beaches… it’s one of the Greek islands with the greatest supply of sandy beaches.”