EU approves 800 million euro scheme to help Greek tourism industry

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The European Commission approved an €800 million Greek program for businesses in the tourism industry that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU said on Tuesday.

The scheme was approved under the EU state aid rules and based on the temporary framework for the EU member states’ support, a press release said.

“This €800 million Greek scheme will facilitate access to liquidity for companies active in the tourism sector. They have been hit hard by the pandemic and this scheme will help ensure the continuity of their economic activity in these difficult times,” said EU Vice President Margrethe Vestager, who is responsible for the competition policy.

Tourism is Greece’s most important sector counting more than 20% of its gross domestic product and after months of lockdown restrictions, the government is eager to rejuvenate it following a plunge of 8% in the last year due to the pandemic.

Last month, Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis announced a multimillion-euro promotional campaign aiming to attract more visitors with the slogan “All you want is Greece”.

Travel requirements

According to the latest travel update, all visitors arriving from the EU and Schengen area countries, the US, the UK, Israel, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, Russia, North Macedonia, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Saudi Arabia are allowed entry into Greece without the need to quarantine.

Travelers, however, would need to provide a proof of either a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before their arrival or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 issued by a public authority or a certified laboratory or a proof that the traveler tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two to nine months.

In addition, visitors may also be subject to random, rapid tests at the country’s entry points and anyone with a positive result will be required to quarantine at designated isolation hotels covered by the Greek state.

Meanwhile, Greek cases continue to show a decline as 1,007 new cases were recorded on Monday, with the total number of infections counting to 402,306 since the start of the pandemic. Also 41 fatalities were recorded, pushing the total tally to 12,095.

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