Vaccination will not be a prerequisite for travel says Tourism Minister
ATHENS. "Despite the new circumstances - not only Covid-19, but also Brexit - the UK will again be a big market for Greece this year."
In an interview with SKAI the Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis discussed the proposed vaccination certificate and made it clear that "In no way will vaccination be a prerequisite for someone to travel."
"This year we have two significant tools," he said. "The first is rapid tests, which are safe and cheap will help us create less inconvenience for passengers. The second is the vaccination - whoever has been innoculated will be able to travel freely."
Talking about the way things are developing in Greek tourism at present and in the near future, the Minister said, "2020 was beneficial in two ways. Firstly, and most importantly, was our branding, which we had set as our basic objective.
It was published in the press today that our country has gone up a place in the preferences of European travellers and we are now in the top four. This is extremely important and was our goal last year.
Secondly, we proved the Opposition wrong as regards the numbers, which they had said would be much lower than they turned out to be. We expect 2021 to be a better year and we are in a position to say with certainty that the summer of 2021 will be better than that of 2020. I believe that this year will be different from last year.
We hope that both the vaccination and the rapid tests will bring an improvement. We are, of course, still at the stage of uncertainty. People are booking their travel at the last moment and consequently it is difficult to evaluate the situation. Healthwise, we have to look at the new mutations of the virus and whether the vaccinations will be effective against any mutations etc.
As regards our forecasts, we are looking at various scenarios privately but these cannot be made public. Under different circumstances, by the beginning of March when the major Berlin tourism exhibition takes place we would have a clearer picture of how the year would develop, but this is not the case now. Plus there is uncertainty as regards how matters will develop healthwise."
In conclusion, Haris Theoharis said, "Despite the new circumstances - not only Covid-19, but also Brexit - the UK will again be a big market for Greece this year."