Travel to Greece during coronavirus: Australians invited to join travel bubble

Athens: The Greek government has listed 29 countries from where it will accept visitors as of June 15 as it looks to mitigate the financial damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tourism Ministry said travellers from the permitted countries will be able to enter Greece on direct flights to Athens and to the northern city of Thessaloniki. The list will be expanded on July 1 to include other countries, the ministry said.

"Our aim is to be able to welcome every tourist who has overcome their fear and has the ability to travel to our country," Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Antenna television.

The 29 countries 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.

Visitors arriving from those countries could be subject to sample coronavirus testing, the ministry said.

Greece imposed a lockdown early in its coronavirus outbreak, a move credited with limiting infections. The country so far has a total of 175 deaths and just over 2900 confirmed cases. No cases have been detected on the vast majority of the Greek islands, which are popular vacation spots.

Safety measures in place include capacity limits at hotels and resorts, each hotel having a designated doctor and close consultations with the Health Ministry, which has been improving treatment facilities at regional hospitals, including on several islands.

"We are opening up, but at the same time we are closely monitoring the situation. Strict health protocols will protect both staff and tourists," Theoharis said before the list was announced.

Tourism and related industries make up around 20 per cent of the Greek economy, and the government has been anxious to ensure the tourist season is not lost this year.

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While Australians might be welcome in Greece in just a couple of weeks, the Australian government may not allow us to travel there. Australia currently has a ban on all international travel, with few exceptions.

AP

See also: Bali's out, Queensland's in: The new destinations on Australians' wish lists

See also: 'Trans-Tasman bubble' could open in September

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