Greece Sends Message of Safety, Prioritizes Vaccination of Island Residents
Prioritizing the safety for travelers and locals, Greece announced this week that it would be accelerating the vaccination against Covid-19 of residents on dozens of Greek islands.
The news was announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said the goal of the “Blue Freedom” plan was to complete vaccination by the end of June “at the latest”.
Vaccinations are ongoing on most of the Greek islands but “Blue Freedom” is aimed primarily at popular tourist destinations.
Indicatively, the plan foresees the vaccination of some 700,000 islanders with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and includes the establishment of mobile medical units and public health facilities to meet that needs.
“It is clear that this plan is aimed at supporting local island communities and their economies and it also aspires to send a positive overall message for our tourism [sector’s] reputation,” Mitsotakis said during a video conference with 19 Greek island mayors, four regional governors, and several ministers.
Speaking on public broadcaster ERT 3 on Tuesday, Markos Kovaios, the mayor of Paros, a popular holiday destination, expressed his satisfaction with the launch of the Blue Freedom program.
“It’s important that the government is taking the needs of local communities and our proposals into consideration, taking action,” said Kovaios, calling on the island’s adult residents to get vaccinated.
Greece a Safe Destination for Travel
“It’s a collective national effort. Where there are individual difficulties, we will resolve them,” said Kikilias expressing confidence that the initiative will go a long way towards showcasing the Greek islands and Greece abroad.
Theoharis underlined the need to support local economies, particularly the islands of the South Aegean, which rely heavily on tourism, and called on local governments to encourage vaccination rollouts and “take actions that will support the economy and tourism”.
The Greek tourism minister is expected to announce during a special press conference on Thursday the details of Greece’s official opening to all international travelers on May 15.
Granted the Global Champion Award for Covid-19 Crisis Management by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) last month, Greece is hoping for a better and safer year this summer tapping into the valuable experience it gained in 2020.