The popular European holiday destination Greece is set to remove its pre-travel testing requirement for travelers. The Mediterranean destination, famed for its picturesque backdrops of bright white buildings and azure blue seas, made the decision to remove the testing requirement with the hopes of kickstarting a much-needed influx of tourism to its islands, and is aiming to woo foreign travelers for its summer travel season much earlier than usual.
In making it easier to enter, Greece will be looking to attract travelers who may have otherwise planned to visit other countries on the continent but have been put off by tough new restrictions, including mandatory booster shots for entry and strict vaccine passport rules. Here’s a closer look at which requirements are changing in Greece, which travelers the move is set to affect and what the overall entry requirements for the country are.
Testing Requirement Removed – Information For Travelers
At present, in order to be able to enter Greece, travelers must present a negative antigen test result within 24 hours of flying, or a PCR test result no older than 72 hours prior to flying, a rule that currently applies to all travelers over the age of five years old. This requirement is one that has become par for the course with regards to international travel, with many other countries around the world having similar rules in place. However, in Greece, it’s about to change.
That’s because the country has announced that from February 7th, many travelers will no longer need to present a negative test result in order to be able to enter – saving travelers time, money and a lot of unnecessary hassle. The decision to remove the testing requirement was announced by Greek tourism and health ministries on Friday – though it should be noted that not every traveler is set to benefit from the changes.
According to the Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, the removal of the pre-arrival testing requirement is set to be only for those with a valid digital European Union vaccination certificate. On the continent, these are in the form of the European Union Digital Covid Certificate, or EUDCC – a document that can only be obtained by those either living in the EU or travelers from specific “third” countries, such as the UK.
Speaking about the country’s upcoming requirement changes, Minister Kikilias stated that Greece was “preparing this year to welcome the visitors of the summer season earlier than any other time from March 1st,” before adding:“Greek tourism has shown remarkable resilience in the past two years, sending a strong message of security to travellers in our country, and it will do the same this year.”
Whilst they may not be benefitting from the removal of the testing requirement, the US and Canada are on the list of countries whose travelers are permitted to visit Greece for vacation purposes. In order to do so, travelers must have a PCR test result performed up to 72 hours before the scheduled arrival or a negative Rapid Antigen test result for Covid-19 performed up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival, regardless of vaccination status. Travelers must also fill in a Passenger Locator Form, and may be subjected to randomized testing upon arrival.
Greece is reporting an average of around 18,000 cases per day, with the volume of cases currently on a downward trend. Masks must be worn in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, whilst travelers may be required to wear two masks or an N95/FFP2 mask on public transport and in supermarkets. Greece currently has a Level 4 – Do Not Travel advisory from the US State Department.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com