"I feel alive again": first impressions of tourists visiting Greece

Greece has officially opened to tourists in hopes of revitalizing its vital industry hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters writes.

After five months of isolation, Greece reopened museums and famous archaeological sites this week, including the Acropolis.

“I feel alive again because it has been a very difficult year due to the coronavirus,” Victoria Sanchez, 22, a student who came to Greece on vacation from the Czech Republic, told Reuters.

Photo: The ferry is approaching the port of the island of Naxos.

From 15/05, foreign tourists can visit Greece if they have been vaccinated or if they have a negative coronavirus test. Interregional travel is also allowed, including to the islands, under the same conditions, in compliance with the sanitary protocol.

“I’m finally here,” said Rebecca, a Florida tourist who came to Athens, adding, “I’ve been waiting for two whole years …”

Greece has activated a vaccination program on its islands and hopes that most of the country’s population will be vaccinated by the end of June.

The government says that thanks to vaccines and rapid tests, as well as hot weather, visitors to the country can travel safely.

Photo: Tourists from Hanover arrive at Nikos Kazantzakis Airport in Heraklion, Crete.

And since the pandemic halted international travel in 2020, Greece has experienced its worst year for the industry, with just 7 million tourists, up from 33 million, a record in 2019. Tourism revenues fell to 4 billion euros from 18 billion euros. The goal this year is to reach 40% of the 2019 level.

Today Corfu welcomed tourists from Germany and France. “We’re just happy. I’m just happy to be here, ”Pierre Olivier Garcia told Reuters shortly after arriving on the island.

The Greeks also welcomed the lifting of restrictions, and today dozens of people are leaving for islands or villages.

It’s worth noting, according to Reuters, that Greece did better during the first wave of the pandemic than most countries in Europe, but the rise in cases later forced it to adopt many restrictive measures.

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