Go to contents

Greece opens up its border to tourists  

Posted May. 17, 2021 08:54,   

Updated May. 17, 2021 08:54


Greece opened its border for foreign tourists on Saturday after vaccinating one of every four citizens at least once.  

According to media outlets including Reuters, the country lifted the 10-day self-quarantine obligation after entering the country imposed on tourists from 53 countries including Korea, the U.S. and EU member countries. To be exempted from the quarantine obligation, tourists should submit a COVID-19 test result or a vaccination certificate in advance.  

Reuters reported that tourists who arrived in Athens looked excited on the first day of the measure. “I’ve been waiting to come to Greece throughout the pandemic,” said Rebecca from Florida, the U.S. “I am finally here.” On that day alone, 32 international flights from Sweden, Germany, Qatar and other countries arrived in four islands in the Aegean Sea including Mykonos.  

The movement restriction between cities has been lifted as well on the same day, which allowed large liners operated between the mainland and islands. Hotels resumed their business operation, and museums including the Acropolis Museum in Athens allowed entrance for the first time in several months after shutting down.  

It seems that the Greek government decided that putting the tourism industry back on track was urgent as it accounts for more than 20 percent of the country’s GDP as vaccination progressed to a certain level. The number of tourists in Greece last year was only seven million, one fifth that of 2019 (33 million). Greece vaccinated some 26 percent of the population (10.4 million) as of Friday, and it aims to vaccinate most adults by the end of June. But the virus is still spreading fast in the country. The number of COVID-19 patients per day peaked over 4,000 in early April and came down to some 2,000.  

Overseas media reported that Italy also started to allow entrance of tourists from Korea, Japan, the EU and the U.S. with a vaccination certificate from Sunday.

Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com