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Greece: Crucial week for June tourism

Next week will be crucial in Greece’s effort to facilitate travel from Great Britain and Russia and strengthen tourism activity in June that appears the weakest month in booking terms.

The UK has ranked Greece in the “amber” group of destinations, meaning that travelers returning to Britain from this country will have to quarantine for at least five days, while Russia is currently not allowing flights between the two countries to be increased, citing mainly concerns about the pandemic.

Nevertheless, by the middle of next week London is likely to reclassify certain Greek destinations (mainly islands), putting them in its “green” list and relieving visitors of the obligation to quarantine upon their return.

Also in the middle of next week, Alternate Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis is expected to have a teleconference on the matter with the joint chairman of the interministerial committee of Greece and Russia, Russian Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, in order to seal the date for the resumption of flights on the basis of the latest health data.

There has already been a series of online consultations between the two countries’ virus expert committees that according to sources appear to be bearing some fruit. Still, political analysts estimate that the crisis with Belarus has toughened Moscow’s attitude toward the European Union in general, affecting Greece too to an extent.

Given the high demand by potential Russian visitors to Greek destinations, and the acknowledgement of the Russian vaccines by the Greek government, facilitating the flow of travelers from Russia could make the difference between losses and marginal profits in June for a considerable number of hoteliers.

That is a month British tourists will apparently be unable to arrive in droves, as even if flights are allowed into the UK without restrictions from a handful of Greek islands, this will not apply to the majority of the country’s tourism destinations. The next review of Britain’s travel policy is expected in late June.

On top of those two challenges for Greek tourism, there is also the classification of the Dodecanese in the Netherlands’ amber list, despite earlier Dutch visits to Rhodes.