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Tourism is a major income earner for Greece, which has led to calls for an EU-wide vaccination certificate to help unlock travel. The industry accounts for about a fifth of the Greek economy and employs one in five workers, but arrivals collapsed last year because of the pandemic.
Greece is aiming to kick off its vital summer season by mid-May, said Theocharis as he addressed the ITB Berlin trade show from the Athens Acropolis Museum, home to sculptures from Greek antiquity.
“Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021,” he said. “Tourists will be welcome if before travel they are either vaccinated, or have antibodies, or test negative. All tourists will be subject to random testing.”
He said the authorities would prioritize the vaccination of people working in the hospitality sector once the most vulnerable were vaccinated, and were mandating the frequent testing of employees.
Greece has imposed a lockdown in several parts of the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic after a surge in new infections piled pressure on its health system, but it has still fared better than most of Europe with almost 7,000 deaths since the pandemic began.