ATHENS — With prospects that tourism, especially during the summer, will see a surge of arrivals bigger than expected even during COVID-19, Greece's New Democracy government wants to lure those from the big markets of Russia and the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is counting on tourists to bring in critical revenues, with expectations that arrivals and spending could be half or more of a record 2019, and for vaccinations to show the country is safe to visit.
For now, Greece is in a category where UK citizens who want to vacation there would have to quarantine for 10 days on their return and produce two negative Coronavirus tests, which are expensive and while Russia doesn't require quarantines for those who visit Greece it is limiting flights to the country.
The European Union has also finally adopted Mitsotakis' idea for a so-called digital Green Pass allowing entries for those who have been vaccinated, have a negative test or who have recovered from the Coronavirus.
Greece also is trying to persuade officials in Russia and the UK that self-tests are being carried out in such numbers that the epidemiological data is showing cases decline although Mitsotakis hasn't made vaccinations mandatory.
Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis visited the UK in a pitch and he will be followed by Minister of State George Gerapetritis in appealing for British authorities to let residents come.
Citing sources not named, Kathimerini said Infectious Diseases Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, who heads an advisory panel of doctors and scientists for the government, met with his Russian counterpart, Anna Popova.