The sector of tourism is arguably the steam engine of the Greek economy as it account’s for a significant percentage of the country’s revenues. However, unlike other EU countries, Greece does not allow the entry of travellers from distant markets such as Latin America, India, South Africa, etc. effectively conceding a large share of the market to its competitors.
The Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist and Travel Agencies (FedHATTA) stresses that after the recent announcements on the lifting of restrictions imposed to curb the pandemic and after the vaccination of the population, it is now completely feasible and absolutely necessary to lift all restrictions that apply to the entry of citizens from 3rd countries that are currently banned since entry to Greece from those destinations requires a full vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative PCR or rapid test, which travellers have been required to present since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to the Federation, allowing all EU citizens to visit Greece without problems, but not third-country citizens, even if they meet the same entry criteria as Europeans, is largely hypocritical and lacks reason. All the more so, since the residents of these countries already travel to the EU, but – for some unknown reason – are excluded from entry into Greece. Moreover, FedHATTA points out the need to immediately scrap all nationality-based bans and implement horizontal restrictions for all based solely on epidemiological criteria.
The president of the Federation, Lysander Tsilidis, said: “Greece must regain its position globally as a prestigious country in the tourism sector, safely welcoming all travellers-visitors, wherever they come from, as long as they meet the relevant requirements. There is no place in our tourism policy for the current hypocritical exclusions of travellers, based on arbitrary criteria that have nothing to do with the needs of the pandemic. Given that tourism operates with a time lag, now is the right time for the immediate and full opening of Greece’s borders to all markets, as the entire tourism industry demands that by 2022 it will finally return to normality.”