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Greece Looking to Safely Resume Air Connectivity with Russia

The safe resumption of air connectivity between Greece and Russia was among the main topics discussed by Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis during his recent official visit to Moscow.

In a meeting with Russia’s deputy minister of transport and responsible for tourism, Dmitriy Zverev, Theoharis focused on the opening of the skies between the two countries for the restart of air travel.

The ministers agreed to immediately proceed towards the mutual recognition of paper document vaccination certificates issued in Greece and Russia and also to work towards overcoming technical issues for the recognition of certificates in digital form.

Theoharis and Zverev also agreed to submit a joint request to the respective health committees of Russia and Greece, to extend the schedule of flights between the two countries.

Moreover, Theoharis informed the Russian minister on Greece’s plan to open for tourism by May 14 which will allow for the lifting of most Covid-related restrictions and at the same time ensure the safety of the health of locals and tourists.

How visitors will enter Greece

Greece’s tourism plan, which is based on 5 lines of defence, includes travelers entering the country without restrictions (quarantine-free) as long as they have either been vaccinated, or have recovered from the virus (have antibodies), or have a negative PCR test with them, performed less than three days prior to their trip. Greek authorities will also perform sampling tests to tourists from markets indicated by the country’s EVA system and if a positive case is detected, it will be isolated immediately.

“We are gradually lifting restrictions and talks are at an advanced stage, especially for Russia,” the Greek minister told the Russian press on the sidelines of his meetings with tourism representatives.

However, he added that – as decisions depend on the expert opinions of Greece’s and Russia’s respective committees of infectious disease specialists – “it is too early” to state that all travel restrictions can be lifted.

“This is what we would like to do, but it is not a given at the moment,” Theoharis said.

It is noted that Greece has announced that travelers vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will be accepted in the country.

The Greek minister on Friday wrapped up his three-day visit to the Russian capital. The trip to Moscow was part of efforts being made to lay the groundwork for Greece to welcome back tourists from target markets for the 2021 season.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis in discussion with the head of Russia's Federal Agency for Tourism, Zarina Valerievna Doguzova.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis in discussion with the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism, Zarina Valerievna Doguzova.

While in Russia, Theoharis had a series of contacts with the country’s tourism industry representatives, including high-ranking government officials and representatives of the private business sector.

According to an announcement by the tourism ministry, the minister’s visit to the Russian capital is expected to lead to the restart of tourism activities between Russia and Greece, as well as for the further strengthening of the ties between the two countries.

“Russian tourists have already chosen our country as a destination and all that remains is the official restart of travel,” the minister said in an announcement.

“In 2019 Greece hosted over 500,000 Russian tourists and with this year’s opening of tourism we are ready to welcome every Russian tourist who wishes to spend an unforgettable, absolutely safe vacation in our country. The long-standing friendship between Russia and Greece was evident in all the contacts I had during my stay in Moscow… I depart from Russia with only optimistic messages for the resumption of the tourism flows to Greece,” Theoharis said.

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