Greece reopening hotels, planning international flights

Greece reopening hotels, planning international flights
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Greece is preparing to welcome tourists starting June 15 with the opening of seasonal hotels, according to The Associated Press.

After hotels reopen, direct international flights allowing tourists into the country will resume July 1.

According to the AP, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said visitors would have to undergo a coronavirus test and “our general health protocols will be adhered to, without them, however, overshadowing our bright sun or the natural beauties of Greece.”

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Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said Wednesday that a list of countries that will be allowed to bring visitors will be announced before the end of May. Nearby countries, such as Germany, Israel and Cyprus are expected to be the first to be allowed. 

The countries will be chosen based off “epidemiological criteria” defined by Greece’s committee of experts dealing with the pandemic.

Greece has reported 2,850 cases of coronavirus and 166 deaths as of Wednesday. Mitsotakis said the country “managed to restrict the spread of the virus. ... We made our country an example to follow in the handling of the health crisis.”

Theoharis said about 33 million visitors traveled to Greece last year, spending 19 billion euros. According to the AP, tourism accounts for 20 percent of the gross domestic product of Greece, which has been severely impacted by coronavirus closures in the country. 

“Let us face reality with courage: April and May was the nadir of tourism,” Mitsotakis said. “So whatever we achieve this year will be a profit.”