Irish tourists excluded from visiting Greece as country begins its tourism season
Irish visitors will not have unrestricted access to Croatia either
Greece has announced it will be opening to some foreign visitors for the tourist season, but Irish holidaymakers will not be allowed for the moment.
Greece, one of the most popular countries for Irish visitors, has announced that visitors will be allowed from 22 European countries and seven other countries, which have largely dealt with their Covid-19 problems.
They are Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.
Neither the UK nor Ireland are included in the list though Greece attracts millions of visitors from both countries.
The current list was drawn up after a study of the epidemiological profile of the countries of origin of tourists.
From June 15th tourists will be allowed to fly into Athens and Thessaloniki airports and will be subject to random coronavirus tests, while hotels must observe restrictions on capacity and stringent hygiene rules.
The situation will be reviewed from July 1st with the possibility that both the UK and Ireland could be included in the next tranche of visitors allowed into the country.
Croatia, another country heavily dependent on tourism, is allowing unrestricted access to visitors from 10 countries from June 15th. They are Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
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Citizens from other EU countries including Ireland may visit Croatia, but they will have to prove their reason for entering the country. If they are making a tourist visit, they will have to present the confirmation of accommodation that is booked.
Most hotels and tourist accommodation have reopened in the country and restaurants and cafes have been allowed to operate since May 11th.
Veljko Ostojic, the head of the Croatian tourism association, said the “crucial” move demonstrated that “Croatia is one of the first countries in the European Union to send a clear message from the highest level that it is open to tourism”.
“As of now, 231 hotels and 86 campsites have opened, and all leading tourist firms have announced the opening of additional capacity in the coming days,” said Mr Ostojic, adding that safety measures had been implemented according to World Health Organisation (WHO) advice.
The possibility of Irish people being able to travel abroad this summer has been heightened following comments by the UK health secretary Matt Hancock.
In response to a question as to whether or not the summer was “cancelled”, Mr Hancock said he was a “little more optimistic” that Britons might be able to enjoy a foreign holiday.
The lifting of restrictions on foreign travel may apply to potential Irish holidaymakers as well.
Mr Hancock told ITV’s This Morning programme that there might be the possibility of a tourist season this year after all.
“I absolutely wouldn’t rule it out. We’ve got to proceed cautiously. We’ve seen what happens when this virus gets out of control and we have as a country managed to get it back under control,” he said.
Italy will be open to all foreign visitors from June 3rd. The country, which has had more than 31,000 deaths from Covid-19, saw a peak in infections in March.
France hopes to open its external borders on June 15th and is hoping to do so in coordination with the other EU27 states.
Spain: Currently all visitors entering Spain will have to self-isolate for 14 days, but the prime minister Pedro Sanchez has indicated that this will be lifted from July 1st and the country will then be open to foreign visitors.
Portugal: Portugal never closed its doors to tourist, but most hotels and restaurants were closed until this month.