Greece has already signed a “green passport” deal with Israel. The deal allows all Israelis that have received a COVID-19 vaccine to freely travel to Greece.
Now, the Greek Ministry of Tourism is in talks with 10 more countries to reach similar deals. These countries are:
- the United Kingdom
- the United States
- the United Arab Emirates and
- Saudi Arabia.
The idea is that these countries will provide a bilaterally recognized digital vaccination certificate that will work as a “green passport” for all those that want to travel to Greece.
In an interview to the news website political.gr, the Minister of Tourism, Harry Theoharis, said: “The Greek proposal (for a vaccine passport) finds allies in EU countries. A number of countries, such as Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Hungary, have announced they are either creating such certificates or that they will accept them for travel. At the same time, at the European Commission level, work has begun for the creation of the digital certificate itself, even if it is intended to be used initially for health reasons only. The next step, which concerns the agreement on the use of such a certificate to facilitate travel, is desirable, but this discussion has not yet been completed.”
1/2 Ο φετινός τουρισμός θα φτάσει ένα σκαλί παραπάνω από όπου έφτασε πέρσι. Πέρσι πετύχαμε την ενίσχυση του «brand» της χώρας &φέτος θα κτίσουμε σε αυτό. Έτσι, η αποτελεσματική διαχείριση του περσινού μας ανοίγματος θα πάει ένα βήμα παραπέρα. Αυτός είναι ο ουσιαστικός μας στόχος.
— Harry Theoharis (@htheoharis) February 20, 2021
H. Theoharis noted that Greece reserves the right to use the vaccine certificate as an alternative to the negative COVID-19 test result.
“To avoid any misunderstanding” the Minister stressed, “there is no question of a vaccination obligation for anyone wishing to travel to Greece. The certificate aims to shake off part of the bureaucracy, such as the need to provide a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result. If someone is concerned about protecting their data privacy, they can always use the alternative of presenting a negative test result before travel”.
Greece expects to be ready to receive the first tourists of the 2021 season in late March, in time for the Jewish Passover, the Catholic and Orthodox Easter.