Greece Says Vaccinated Americans Welcome This Summer. Europe Could Follow.

Greece’s tourism minister says the country will welcome travelers from most of the world who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, present a negative test, or antibodies from prior infection.

Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021,” he said. “Tourists will be welcome if before travel they are either vaccinated, or have antibodies, or test negative. All tourists will be subject to random testing.

The country plans to begin “with a few regional countries in April, but will open widely to visitors from all over the world from Mid-May 2021.”

Once in Greece it becomes much easier to travel elsewhere in Europe, unless European countries impose bans on travel from the country or ban inbound travel by Americans regardless of where they’re traveling from.

More likely if Greece opens to Americans, Europe broadly will as well, and the specifics of Greece’s requirements will align with the rest of the European Union both in terms of timing and what documentation must be presented for entry.

Although the European Union lags the U.S., U.K., and a handful of other places in vaccinations by late spring their pace should increase. Covid cases have declined significantly in Europe. And we’re likely to see some summer seasonality to the virus, as with did in Europe generally last summer.

Of course Greece said they would open to Americans last summer but pressure from the E.U. prevented that from happening. So it’s possible a cautious European bloc could foil Greece’s plans once again, rather than be dragged into opening along with it. However the hit to Greece’s economy from continued closure to the world, combined with an expectation of declining Covid-19 cases numbers throughout the summer, make me optimistic.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. For countries that may open to international visitors with a proof of vaccine policy, what is the plan for children who won’t have been able to get it (yet) while their parents have received their shot? Separate negative test instead? I haven’t seen anything written about this minor (no pun intended) yet obvious hurdle since kids no doubt would be travelling with adults. Thanks

  2. All this is great but what is the holdup on a proper vaccine platform for documentation or “passport”?

    All I have is that flimsy CDC postcard.

  3. @matthewsf – Agreed. The million dollar question is how to handle families with kids.

  4. @ Pete. I agree, still waiting for something to properly show when traveling to these places. The card you and I have is laughable, I could have grabbed a bunch sitting on a table at the place I was vaccinated and handed them out to friends to fill out.

    @Doug, Indeed. But I think kids will be allowed in with a negative PCR test based on what Gary wrote. But something needs to be set up for this as it’s clear they will not get vaccinated until late summer/early fall.

  5. “or have antibodies”
    @Doug-this is another item that needs more clarification, specifically the time period of how long ago one tested positive (and has antibodies) but is well past transmission. Currently, like what we can do prior to returning to the US, if you tested positive you have 90 days to use the Dr. note to show proof of recovery and thus no re-test. I imagine that nobody will go take a blood test prior to departing to Greece/EU to get results showing previous positivity and having antibodies. Do how long would the previous confirmation (on antibodies) be valid for? I realize the EU, other countries, etc. may not follow CDC guidelines so curious as to what will be acceptable and valid to show to satisfy this requirement .

  6. 1) “or test negative” — means you don’t need a vaccine.
    2) “All tourists will be subject to random testing.” — means people can walk up to you at anytime and stick a swab up your nose, or some other bodily orifice. Sound creepy.
    3) Masks forever, even if you get vaccinated AND test negative. Sounds wonderful in the summer heat.

    Might think about moving to where you can be free of covidocracy and fear.

  7. It is 15-16 billion Euro/year question for Greece. I mean tourist business. It is important for one country to start and others will follow.

  8. What’s the point of traveling to Greece, or anywhere else, if all the local restaurants, cafes, clubs, etc. are closed and the country is in a shutdown? While the airlines will be happy for the tickets, the tourists will be disappointed by what they find when they get there

  9. And to add to my comment, I have a roundtrip biz class ticket, 4 nights in a cat 8 Hyatt, 5 nights in a cat 6 Marriott and closing night somewhere in ATH…. all gonna be cancelled… dollar value of the points for the hotels alone (and much higher retail) is upwards of $3,500 and much more for the retail of the flight…. and much more i’d spend locally on the ground…. all that gonna be redirected to open states in the US.

  10. @Billy Bob that would be moving to Australia, New Zealand etc. where people and their government took COVID seriously and beat it 10 months ago.

  11. @Pete – it’s no different from the internationally-standardized Yellow Card for the Yellow Fever vaccination record, which is required for entry to some countries. Anyone can purchase the blank Yellow Cards and there is no method of verifying the information entered on it.

  12. The unvaccinated will be have to display a yellow star on their chest and will be interned in forced labor camps as well.
    They will de facto agree to be organ harvested by the CCP.
    While the fully vaccinated celebrate freedom and human rights at the gates.

  13. Good for Greece. Other EU countries will follow. They want U.S. tourist dollars this summer and they aren’t going to be told by Brussels they can’t reopen.

  14. Will we be able, as US citizens, to get back into the country (US) after going to Greece?

  15. Your headline is misleading. You make it sound like they are opening up for vaccinated Americans but then you post “Tourists will be welcome if before travel they are either vaccinated, or have antibodies, or test negative. All tourists will be subject to random testing.” So basically they are claiming they will open for anyone with a negative test. Yea good luck getting the EU to agree to a free for all for the entire world and all their variants to come into Europe. What they should have done is only allow vaccinated people until the virus is no longer a major factor in the world. Simply look at what is happening in Brazil with their variant if you don’t understand why this is not workable.

  16. My family travelled to croatia and turkey last summer and everything was open. Business as usual. We wore masks and ate outside tested negative multiple times. Of course Eu is going to let us in this summer if we are vaccinated. They can’t afford a second season without the US, people like me drop huge dollars there. Hopefully it will be nice and quiet again this year too since they will wait till the last minute to announce it. Next year will be unbearable with a huge rush of people no doubt. Also want to burn more miles before they devalue again.

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