Greek island holidays as early as MAY? Athens considers plan to break from EU rules and reopen borders to sun-seeking Britons before summer

Author: The Winning Team
Posted Date: Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021
Total Reviews: 158

  • Greece is looking into whether it can give an early green light to British tourists 

  • The country is examining whether it could open its borders as early as May 

  • The early reopening of  Greece would be in contrast with other EU countries 

Greek island holidays could be on the cards as soon as May as the country examines opening its borders early. 

Greece is looking into whether it can give an early green light to British tourists who have received the vaccine. 

The move would break from the rest of the European Union, which is pushing for a united and cautious approach to reopening non-essential travel from outside the bloc. 

It comes as Greece has recorded a total of 182,783 Covid-19 cases and 6,343 deaths. Over the previous 24 hours, the country recorded 2,111 new cases and 22 new deaths. 

Athens is seeking to boost the country's vital holiday industry, which has taken a hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The government is considering plans to allow in British visitors who can prove that they have been vaccinated Covid-19 in time for the summer months, according to a report in The Times. 

Athens is also putting in plans to ensure that airport staff and hotel employees will receive a vaccine.  

The reopening of the country would be in contrast with EU leaders who are expected to say that it is too soon to start lifting restrictions on non-essential travel. 

A video call in which EU leaders will gather to warn that infections are still too high to remove travel restrictions is expected to state that the 'epidemiological situation remains serious, and the new variants pose additional challenges.' 

On Monday, Boris Johnson revealed that foreign travel for leisure and holidays will be banned until at least May 17. 

Mr Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown said foreign holidays will not be allowed for at least another 12 weeks with scant detail on how the final decision to open up air travel will be made. 

Critics have called the decision to wait until May 17 to open up flights a 'hammer blow' to the aviation industry, which directly and indirectly supports up to 4million jobs and around 100,000 businesses in the UK.

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, based in London, told MailOnline: 'Delaying the return of international travel until mid-May will come as yet another hammer blow to the already struggling Travel & Tourism sector, which has been battling to survive for the best part of a year.

'The sector was banking its hopes on a quicker return to international travel, so there will be widespread dismay at this news. Its return is crucial if the UK economy is to recover from the ravages of the pandemic, given the sector generates £200billion to the UK's GDP'.

There are also growing calls in the industry for vaccine passports - but there is no mention of them in relation to foreign travel in Mr Johnson's roadmap. But there will be a review of 'potential uses to enable access to settings' with 'Covid status certification' - with the conclusions published before June 21.

The Government has said a final decision on when international travel can restart will be made before a review is completed by the Department for Transport after Easter, causing yet more uncertainty for those dreaming of going abroad.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that vaccine requirements for international travel would be in violation of legally binding international health rules. 

The organisation stressed that there are still some uncertainties regarding the effectiveness of vaccination and called on governments not to introduce vaccination or immunity requirements as a condition of entry for international travel. 

'There are still too many fundamental unknowns in terms of the effectiveness of the vaccines in reducing virus transmission and vaccines are still only available in limited quantities,' the committee said.