Greece is doing away with their requirement to test incoming travelers for Covid-19, given that they are in possession of the EU Digital Covid Certificate, according to a press release published by the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Tourism.
The idea is that lifting the testing requirements is supposed to create a more positive environment for people to travel in, leading to Greece becoming a more attractive destination and potentially more people traveling to the country in 2022.
As it is written in the press release, only people vaccinated with an EU-approved Covid-19 vaccine that are also holders of the EU Digital Covid Certificate are exempt from the testing requirement.
“The lifting of the obligation to conduct tests on vaccinated citizens with a valid European COVID Certificate in their possession is another step to enhance tourist flows to the country. The decision follows a number of measures that facilitate potential travellers to plan their visit to Greece,” the press release reads.
At this time, it is still unclear what the other measures are that are reportedly being taken by the country.
Greece’s tourism industry was essentially eliminated by their government and the EU’s responses to Covid-19, which include prolonged lockdowns, curfews, travel bans, harsh travel restrictions, and much more.
As a result, many small businesses were lost along with a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) were lost. For reference, about 11.2% of Greece’s entire economy was reliant on tourism in 2019, which means that roughly that same amount was lost from the overall Greek economy from tourism alone, without even accounting for losses from other sectors that were negatively impacted by restrictions and lockdowns.
Many in the country would say that after two years of sustained restrictions, lockdowns, and travel bans, it is high time that Greece made some of the necessary steps to repair one of the largest parts of their economy, which provides the livelihoods of millions of people.
Some policymakers, however, showcase their easing of travel restrictions as something of a gift to their people without recognizing that their policies are what put so much strain on their people and their economy to begin with.
“Our country is taking all necessary preparatory steps this year to welcome our visitors for the summer season, earlier than ever before, as of March 1st. Greek Tourism has made proof of a remarkable resilience over the past two years, sending a strong message regarding the security of travellers to our country. It will do the same again this year,” said Vassilis Kikilias, Hellenic Republic Minister of Tourism.
The move to stop testing holders of the certificate, however, could mean that the Greek government is taking steps in the right direction towards recovery from their response to Covid-19 and the virus itself.
More updates on the travel situation in Greece, one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, will come as they are announced.