“It is a given that this summer would be difficult, it is an exercise of great balance”, stressed the Minister of Tourism, Haris Theocharis.
“We are trying to make sure that we take as few restrictive measures as possible, but without endangering the health of our tourists and citizens,” he said, referring to the rise of the Delta mutation in Britain.
“In Britain there is a big upsurge of the ‘Delta’ strain and Portugal in 3 weeks is having a big problem… Germany quarantined the Portuguese. This balance is very difficult,” he stressed, speaking on the show “MEGA Society Hour”.
“We have put under complete control whoever comes from the Emirates, Britain, Portugal and Russia. We monitor the positive cases every day and yesterday a joint ministerial decision was issued, according to which anyone coming from Russia must have been tested regardless of vaccination and also when they arrive at the airport. “Before they come and after they get here,” he explained.
“It is a dynamic process that we have followed from the beginning, we follow the positivity at our borders. We have no problem from the Balkans, as we also discussed with [epidemiologist] Mr. Tsiodras. According to our epidemiologists, Sputnik is a very good vaccine. Mrs Merkel can talk to the countries that have approved it and are applying it to their citizens.”
“Everyone who comes from Russia is tested. From Great Britain, if you have been vaccinated, the test is not necessary,” he underlined.
“As of today, 39 flights a week have been licensed from Russia. So far we have not had large numbers, in any case we will not endanger health. We are taking the necessary measures to protect Greek citizens,” he said when asked if the Russian market was open.
“We have a public map that shows epidemiological data and that of vaccination. Each tourist can choose an area that has a higher vaccination rate. It is the only solution to get out of it (vaccination). Depending on the market we have a different scenario. The map is a great asset for tour operators “.
Regarding land borders, the Minister stated that: “in order to open the borders, there must be special epidemiological groups. From 1st July we have border openings, gates – entrances for tourism. For Thrace, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and for 24 hours a day. At the same time, 3 gates are being built (2 entrances – 1 exit) in order to faster serve the people who come to our country. “Turkey is an important market, but the epidemiological data do not allow us to open the borders for tourist travel.”
“I have not set any quantitative targets. The goal we must have this year is quality. Firstly to have a complete system so that the people will not suffer and secondly ensure the quality of epidemiological security. This year will be better than last year. Estimates of 25% capacity are pessimistic. ” he underlined and doted on the personalities who have already chosen our country for holidays.
“We will not be able to take the necessary measures both at the local level and at the national level,” he said, adding: “No one has a contract with the virus, so we all need to be vaccinated, it is the only way out.”
Asked about the vaccination certificate, he said: “it is an EU law. The countries had the opportunity to implement this certificate in June. We already accept that. ”
Regarding the “tourism for all” platform, he said that in the coming days it will be open for applications and will enable 100,000 of our fellow citizens to go on vacation.