ATHENS – Greece’s high hopes for a tourism rebound during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic got a bit of boost after Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt signed a Greek-US deal to step up travel services trade.
That came in a ceremony at the foot of the Acropolis, updating the deal that was last appreved in 1991, no reason given why it hadn’t been renewed over the decades, but now coming at an important time for the sector.
Kikilias stressed that 2022 will be a record year in direct flights between Greece and the US, reaching up to nine per day, and offering more than 460,000 seats although the numbers won’t likely match the record 2019 before the pandemic crashed the market the last two years.
Pyatt pointed out there will be 14 different services between Greek and US airports this summer, highlighting that Greece is a market in great demand by US tourists, the country ranking 7th in 2019 arrivals, including the Greek-American Diaspora.
A requirement imposed on third-country nationals to present a COVID-19 test in order to enter Greece will remain effective until April 11, the authorities announced, reported SchengenVisaInfo.com.
They must also have a molecular PCR test performed 72 hours before arrival or a rapid test within 24 hours, even if fully vaccinated, although the New Demoracy government is looking to lift measures by the high-season summer period.
Authorities in Greece have decided to extend the validity of COVID vaccination certificates to nine months from seven months, following the European Union directives, the site added.
Health Minister Thanos Plevris said that, “Expiration of the vaccination certificate after the second vaccine dose will be after nine months and not 7as it is currently,” reported SKAI TV.
The validity of recovery certificates will also be extended to six months from three months and he said there is no expiration restriction after the third dose, also known as the booster shot.