Greece officially reopened for tourism on Friday, becoming the latest southern European country to do so.
While much of the European Union waits for a digitized travel pass to reopen their borders to tourism, Greece announced the start of its tourism season with new advertising campaigns and events.
This week, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis held an outdoor press conference in front of the Temple of Poseidon outside of Athens, where he declared the country was ready to welcome back tourists, the BBC reported.
Tourists from a list of 53 countries including the U.S., UK, and European Union members are allowed to visit Greece if they have been vaccinated or can show negative COVID-19 test results.
Passengers must fill out a passenger locator form before they travel, listing information about where they are staying and supplying proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test, or recent recovery.
"We're all vaccinated, the tables are outside and spread out, with hand sanitizers on each one. We're ready. Now we wait," Kyriaki Kapri, owner of the beachside restaurant Gorgona on Naxos, told The Associated Press.
LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty
Almost one-quarter of Greeks are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Health Secretary General Marios Themistocleous said on Monday.
While Greece still has several restrictions — masks are required in all public places and a curfew is still in place from 12:30 a.m. until 5 a.m. — movement between regions is allowed and residents are allowed to leave their homes without texting a hotline (a previous lockdown requirement). Locals are now allowed to travel between the islands, as well. Restaurants, museums, and retail have all been permitted to reopen, although many are operating with capacity limits, according to the U.S. Embassy in Greece.
At this time, the State Department still has a Level 4 "Reconsider Travel" Advisory in place for Greece.
Malta also launched a tourism campaign last month and will pay travelers to book their vacation there, ahead of the EU digital passport launching.