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Tourism Minister says Greek borders will open for Serbia from mid-April

30 Mar 2021 / 12:57

ATHENS. "Serbian travellers can have complete trust in Greece," said the Minister on his 2-day visit to Serbia.

Continuing his tour of countries important to Greek tourism, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis visited Serbia, where he had a series of meetings with government officials and tourism professionals. During his official visit he signed a joint declaration with his counterpart Ms. Tatjana Matić, the Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications.

The joint declaration officially seals the committment of Greece and Serbia to closer cooperation aiming to counter the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on tourism.

The Greek Minister said, "First of all, I would like to say that Greece and Serbia are working together in the fight for the return to normalcy. The joint declaration that I have just signed with my colleague and friend Ms. Tatjana Matić seals the friendship and understanding between the two countries. We agreed that the return to normalcy is connected with the possibility of people to travel, to enjoy safe and beautiful holidays where they desire."

Mr. Theoharis had several interviews with the local media and the following are the main points from his statements:

- "Serbian travellers can have complete trust in Greece. Our country is at the forefront of planning and implementing health safety protocols, especially in the tourism sector. We are pleased that the proposal from our Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was adopted by the European Commission and the implementation of a Green Digital Certificate has already been set in motion.

- "Serbia is one of the countries for whom the Greek borders will open for tourists from mid-April. We are re-opening safely and as quickly as possible, implementing a pilot programme for Serbia, the EU, the USA, the UK, Israel and the Arab Emirates in the first phase."

- "We would like to inform Serbians who are thinking of visiting Greece in 2021 that, according to the plan drawn up by the Greek Government, in order to visit our country, one must either be vaccinated, have tested negative test or recovered from the coronavirus. There will also be targetted sample tests at the borders. Those who test negative will be able to go to their hotel and enjoy their vacation without any additional obligation, following the same rules that apply to every Greek citizen and every guest. I would also like to point out that following the completion of the vaccination programme for vulnerable groups we will proceed with the vaccination of tourism employees, as they will mainly come in contact with tourists."

The Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Tatjana Matić said, "With the signing of the joint declaration we have demonstrated once more the traditional friendship between our countries. In practical terms, it formalised our joint intention - as we had expressed several months ago - to strengthen our cooperation in the field of tourism both during and after the pandemic. In the joint declaration, we pledged to make every effort to find solutions to the problems caused by Covid-19. One of the solutions to ensure the health protection of travellers is the mutual recognition of both countries’ digital Covid-19 health certificates."

During his official visit to Belgrade, Mr. Theoharis also met with the head of the Serbian Travel Agents' Union (YUTA) Aleksandar Senicic, who confirmed the great interest of Serbians in travel to Greece. Mr. Senicic expressed his confidence that the signing of the joint declaration and the special protocols allowing travel to Greece with vaccination certificates or tests will help the market. He said, "In these special circumstances due to Covid-19 travel in 2021 could be over 50% of what it was in 2019 (when over 1 million Serbs visited Greece)."

Mr. Senicic discussed with the Minister the matter of vouchers for trips that were postponed last year and said, "The opening of the Greek border at Evzonous is especially important for travel from Serbia to Greece." He requested, if it was feasible, for special treatment for Serbs who own property in Greece and added that he foresaw, "Constructive communication and cooperation in order to ensure that things go smoothly for the benefit of professionals in both countries and for those that wish to travel."