When Will Tourists Be Allowed to Travel to Greece This Year?
Greece in 2020
Everyone knows that Greece is the ideal location for a summer holiday! With lush beaches, thousands of little islands, blue-green sea, and the sun shining bright above, it`s clear why visitors keep coming back making Greece one of the most important tourist hotspots in the world. In 2019 Greece hosted 34 million visitors which is not at all shabby for a country of only 11 million! However 2020 told a very different story. In April 2020, arrivals at accommodation establishments in Greece fell to around an estimated 12 thousand due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, down from 1.28 million recorded in the same period a year earlier.
Citizens from a number of countries were restricted from travelling to Greece last year, including the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, which make up an enormous part of Greece`s annual visitors. However, from July onwards, the borders between many European countries opened up, and with everyone following the most stringent health and safety protocols, half a tourist season was at least enjoyed by a few until the end of the season in late October.
Those of us in the yachting industry saw bookings dry up completely for a while, and then start tentatively again after June. Many yachting holidays were cancelled or postponed; we offered credit vouchers to anyone who wasn`t able to confirm new dates and have been completely flexible in rebooking new dates.
Ok, let`s face it, 2020 was a catastrophic year for the economy. With so many countries on lockdown and borders closed to many, there was a massive loss of revenue for Greece, reflected in a 14% drop in GDP. And this despite the fact that Greece had one of the lowest Covid infection rates in the world.
So, how is 2021 going to pan out?
We all know that summer is the worst time for the virus as it doesn`t like ultra-violet light or people boosting their immune systems by soaking up vitamin D. The Greek sun and fresh outdoor air are big oponents of the virus, and no infections have ever been identified from beaches anywhere in the world!
As vaccination programmes continue, many are beginning to contemplate the idea of going on holiday once again. According to most projections, infection rates will continue to decrease as more and more people are vaccinated. At time of press, 10% of Greece`s population has already been vaccinated! And as more and more people become vaccinated, more countries will be encouraged to start opening up their borders again.
If flights are being opened in your country, then, that is a most positive sign! On easy jet flights were up 600%, suggesting many Europeans are eager to flock to the Greek beaches this summer. American Airlines, Emirates and Delta Air have also opened up bookings as early as April 30!
The latest travel news from Greece is that borders will be opening up to tourism from the middle of May. Visitors will be expected to have either a vaccine certificate OR a recent negative Covid test. Otherwise rapid Covid tests may be administered at the border, and mandatory quarantines are likely to be imposed on anyone testing positive.
The safest holiday: a yacht sailing holiday!
Ok, so you`ve arrived safely in Greece for your holiday. But how do you remain safe?
Take it from us, a yacht holiday is not only the best way to really see and enjoy Greece, it is also the safest! You can spend the entire period totally isolated, anchored in lagoon-like tranquil bays, if you like. You can spend the day at sea, sails hoisted against the cool breezes, watching for dolphins. Or you can pull into small village island ports and have a cocktail as the sun goes down, or a delicious meal at a seaside taverna. There`s no reason to go where the crowds go!
There is no safer holiday than the social isolation offered on a sailing yacht with your own family or friends. You can choose where to go and avoid crowded areas, dropping anchors in isolated bays overnight if you prefer.
Bottom Line: There is hope.
Greece is very eager to welcome visitors once more as their preferred holiday destination and we are confident that this year it will be safe and convenient to do so. Already bookings are going up, and it looks as if 2021 is going to be much better than last year.
We hope you`ll come, and we can`t wait to see you!