Greek tour operators are calling for the lifting of Covid-19 travel bans for third-country nationals, citing large revenue losses.
The Federation of Greek Associations of Travel Agents (FedHATTA) states that allowing all EU citizens to visit Greece without problems, but denying entry to third-country nationals, even if they meet the same entry criteria as Europeans, is largely disingenuous and unreasonable. Moreover, residents of these countries are already traveling to the EU, but, for some unknown reason, they are prohibited from entering Greece.
The tourism sector is the locomotive of the Greek economy, as it accounts for a significant portion of the country’s income. However, unlike other EU countries, Greece does not allow entry to travelers from remote countries such as Latin America, India, South Africa, etc., effectively yielding significant market share to its competitors.
The Federation of Greek Associations of Travel Agents (FedHATTA) stresses that following the recent announcements to lift the restrictions imposed to contain the pandemic and following the vaccination of the population, it is now fully feasible and absolutely necessary to lift all restrictions that apply to the entry of third-country nationals that are currently are prohibited. As entry into Greece from these destinations requires a full certificate of vaccination or recovery, or a negative PCR or rapid test, which travelers must present since the start of the pandemic.
FedHATTA points out the need to immediately lift all nationality bans and impose horizontal restrictions on all based solely on epidemiological criteria. Federation President Lysander Tsilides said:
“Greece must regain its position globally as a prestigious country in the tourism sector, welcoming all traveler visitors safely from wherever they come, provided that they meet the necessary requirements. There is no room in our travel policy for the current hypocritical exclusion of travelers 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 complete opening of Greece’s borders to all markets. Because the entire tourism industry is demanding that it finally be back to normal by 2022. ”