In an interview with Protothema, the Greek Tourism Minister, Haris Theoharis, underlined that vaccination will probably be needed for foreign tourists depending on what the epidemiological situation is like in the countries they are coming from.
Theoharis confirmed that everyone who will be vaccinated in Greece will receive a digital certificate, and most European countries plan to introduce similar certificates.
“There is a lot of talk about mutual recognition of certificates between the country of departure and the country of destination,” Theoharis said.
The Greek Minister’s announcement will surely make Serbs happy, since 50% of all booked summer vacations were in Greece. Now all eyes are on last year’s unused vouchers that tourists received from travel agencies in lieu of the purchased holiday arrangements.
Greece closed its borders for Serbian citizens last summer, and that measure is still in force.
“We want to conclude travel protocols with countries we are interested in, such as Greece, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Turkey and Egypt, so that we don’t have the repeat of the last summer, where our borders were closed and we couldn’t travel anywhere,” said Aleksandar Seničić, director of the National Association of Travel Agencies of Serbia.
“If we can do that, we will know the entry rules in advance; for example, we now know that the PCR test is mandatory for entry into Turkey and Egypt. There is a protocol with Cyprus, where they classify all countries in four different colours, and based on that, there are different rules for entering the country. Our Tourism Ministry has given us support and we have started talks with the Greek Ministry and the Greek embassy in Serbia,” he adds.
Seničić hopes that the situation will stabilize by April, so that at least travellers can finally use their vouchers. “Even if they use only half of them, it would be good for both agencies and passengers,” Seničić underlines.
Right now, for example, seven days in the Maldives costs just over 1,000 euro per person. This price includes air transport, accommodation and food. An 11-day vacation in Zanzibar, where no PCR test is needed, which includes hotel, transportation, transfers and taxes, costs about 1,500 euro per person. For comparison, the average price for a few days in one of the Serbian ski resorts, excluding ski pass costs, amounts to around 700 euro per person, accommodation and half board included.
According to Seničić, there is an initiative by IATA to present an application that would act as the so-called COVID passport; a personalized document, which will show that the ‘passport’ holder does have a negative PCR test. Two airlines are already using this app on their New York-London and London-Sydney routes.
(Vecernje Novosti, 10.01.2021)
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