The preparation of the country for the start, from next Saturday, of the new tourist season with a “background” of the coronavirus enters the final straight, with the government having decided to integrate the green passport within the PLF that those who visit Greece are required to complete two twenty-four hours before their arrival in the country.
Specifically, in the PLF declaration of the traveler, for the airport of origin, the place and the duration of his stay in Greece, the data of the green passport will be added: it will be certified, that is, if he has been vaccinated, if he has been infected with coronavirus for at least twenty days before entering the country or if he has a negative PCR or antigen test. The logic of the government is that the control of the green passport – which is expected to take effect from June 1 – before the traveler gets on the plane or car for Greece is not to create unnecessary physical or digital bureaucracy and the travel process to is as “invisible” as possible. At the same time, by “shifting” the control of digital certificates to the level before departure for the trip to Greece, it becomes possible to avoid the overcrowding of incoming tourists at airports upon arrival. Finally, in order to ensure the validity of green passports, there will be a certification mechanism in the PLF for those coming from both European and third countries. It is reminded that in the Green Pass program participate:
France, Malta, Iceland, Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Cyprus, Spain, Latvia, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Poland, Poland, D Liechtenstein, Norway, Ireland, Slovakia, Belgium. Also, Greece will receive tourists from Russia and China, but also visitors in general who will have been vaccinated with the Russian or Chinese vaccine and will not “recognize” only the four that are used in the western world and are made in Greece, ie the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
The successful management of the green passport is part of the government’s broader plan to open tourism from next Saturday. According to government officials, crucial for the project are:
• What opens does not close again.
• Ensure adequate health surveillance. In other words, the cases should be identified in time and any confluences should be treated.
• The vaccination campaign should proceed and the requested wall of immunity should be built as soon as possible, especially in the most vulnerable groups.
• To shield, also through vaccination, the islands, where there will be a large number of tourists, but also limited hospital structures.
It is a big bet for the government to have completed the vaccination of 4.5 million citizens by the end of June. This is because tourism can open its gates immediately, but mass arrivals are expected in July and August, when vaccination programs will have progressed in the countries of origin as well. A “weapon” for Greece in accelerating the vaccination program is the expected arrival of 1.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, as it is a single dose.
At the same time, the “bet” is to settle the rules that will be set to their citizens who visit Greece by the countries of origin. It is obvious that any multi-day quarantine when returning from vacation in Greece will be a strong disincentive for arrival in our country. In light of the above, there are considerations for visitors to undergo a coronavirus test before departure. However, in order to promote such a formula, it must be decided who will cover the relevant costs. That is, if it will be included in the “package” that the tourist will pay or a part will be covered by the hotel where he will stay or even the state. Also required is the availability of the required number of tests. Athens expects about 15 million tourists this summer. While, at the same time, it should be ensured that there will be adequacy in the tests that are performed on a daily basis in the Greek population.
In any case, there is moderate optimism in the Maximos Palace – based on the data of the last three weeks – that this year’s tourist season will have a positive sign. In particular, it is estimated that arrivals will reach 50% of those of 2019, ie before the coronavirus, and will be double compared to last summer.