Greece is set to reopen its borders from May 14th welcoming UK travellers.
Currently, international travel is banned as per the coronavirus restrictions in place across the nation.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce the date international travel can restart on April 12th, with current predictions ranging from May 17th to June 21st.
Top holiday destinations such as Greece, Cyprus and Turkey are all desperately waiting for the return of British tourists.
A senior tourism sector official in Athens told the Sun: “We’re in a race to get them, in fact everyone in Europe is in a race to get them.
“If 3.5 million come as they did in 2019, it will be fantastic for us.”
Greek tourism minister, Harry Theoharis addressed ITB 2021, the world’s largest tourism trade fair, explaining that the country had adopted the slogan: “all you want is Greece”.
He added: “This year and forever ‘all you want is Greece’.
“For the smile to return to your lips, with the hope you will take your life back all you want is Greece.”
Currently, Greece and the UK are in talks about an agreement which would allow travellers with vaccination certificates to enter the country without the need to quarantine or have Covid tests.
On Tuesday, Theoharis said visitors from the UK would be welcomed if they met one of three criteria: they had been vaccinated, had antibodies or provided a negative test.
Greek tourist resorts have noticed a surge in bookings since Boris announced the government’s roadmap.
The country’s deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios told The Sun: “After the roadmap a lot of people have started booking, we have seen a noticeable uptick.
“It’s too early to give figures but I can say over the next few weeks and days we will be in talks with all the tour operators. TUI, Jet 2, Love holidays, Easy Jet, Sunville, Mercury, Olympic will be among them.”
Athens has been pushing for EU-endorsed vaccine passports explaining it will help accelerate mass tourism.
Referring to queues at test stations, Theocharis said: “And [tourists] wouldn’t have to stand in long lines at airports.
“Certificates are just an alternative to negative testing and [the money issue] is also an incentive even if progressively, as we go into the season, we’ll more likely to adopt the cheap and fast rapid tests …. but as I say it’s still a hassle standing in line getting tested .
“With this system, we’d be instituting two lanes in airports as it were. The vaccination lane and the non-vaccination lane which would facilitate travel quite a bit.”
EU officials say we shouldn’t ‘underestimate the technical or legal difficulties’ in creating travel certificates.
Brits will be able to book summer holidays abroad this year, government announces
‘For the first time people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad or perhaps a summer holiday’
A government minister has confirmed that you will be able to book a summer holiday abroad this year.
Grant Shapps announced the news today, saying that the official advice not to plan foreign trips has now been ditched.
The transport secretary also said the government would attempt to drive down the cost of testing for anyone wanting a summer holiday or to see friends and family abroad.
However, Mr Shapps urged people to wait a little bit longer to start booking anything, as the government won’t be publishing the ‘green list’ of countries for ‘two or three weeks’.
The Government will operate a ‘traffic light’ system for international travel when it resumes, which is currently penciled in for May 17th.
Countries will be classed as either green, amber, or red under the scheme, depending on each destination’s rate of vaccination and testing capacity.
He added, when asked whether people should start booking trips: “My advice today would be moving on from where we were before.
“I’m not telling people they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time I’ve been able to say that for many months.”
According to reports, the US, Malta, Gibraltar and large parts of the Caribbean have been tipped for the green list, while Greece could also make the cut.
Spain and Italy could also join from June if their vaccine programmes have progressed well.
Mr Shapps advised people to wait and see which countries will be on the green list, saying: “And of course actually I think people would want to be clear about which countries are going to be in the different traffic light system and people predominantly of course will be looking to book in a green country.
“There’s only two or three weeks to wait before we publish that list itself but yes, tentative progress.
“For the first time people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad or perhaps a summer holiday.
“But we’re doing it very very cautiously because we don’t want to see any return of coronavirus in this country.”
Thousands of tourists are still being let in to the UK every day
‘We’ve got no grounds to refuse them’
Thousands of tourists from other countries are reportedly being allowed into the UK every day, at a time when British people are banned from going on holiday abroad.
According to Border Force estimates which have been shared with The Times, around 40% of the 20,000 people arriving at British borders daily are holidaymakers, which equates to about 8,000 tourists per day.
Hundreds of these visitors are granted holiday visas from the Home Office, with one traveller from Peru getting a visa after saying the reason for their UK trip was to ‘visit Big Ben’.
A Border Force source revealed to the Times that hundreds of people coming to the UK each day are ‘basically coming here on a two-week holiday’, adding that the agency has ‘no grounds to refuse them’.
They said: “As long as they’ve got an address where they say they’ll quarantine, and they’ve completed their pre-departure tests, they’ve got their certificates and everything else, they’ve got means and a return ticket, we’ve got no grounds to refuse them.”
On average nearly half the people arriving here are tourists, but at Gatwick and the Eurostar Terminals that number jumps to 80 or 90%, according to the data from whistleblowers.
However, the Home Office has responded by saying it ‘does not recognise these figures’, insisting that ‘tough health measures’ are being enforced at airports, train stations and ports.
Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, said: “We do not recognise these figures. We are enforcing tough health measures at the border for the small minority of people coming to the UK, including those entering on a visitor visa for legitimate reasons.
“Since January 2021, we have paused all decisions on visitor visas to applicants applying from a ‘red list’ country or where it is apparent an applicant has visited one of those countries in the last ten days.
“Border Force officers also have the right to refuse entry to any visitor who they believe has travelled to the UK to carry out activities not permitted under current local health restrictions, such as holidays or tourism, or who will not comply with self-isolation and testing requirements.”
Holidaymakers will have to wear a face mask on the beach in Spain this summer
Would you still go to Spain on holiday?
If you’re planning on going to Spain for a holiday this summer then you better make sure you pack your face mask alongside the Factor 50.
It’s been announced that any holidaymakers heading to the country will have to wear face coverings on the beach, ITV News reports.
Spain is tightening mask rules, and while face coverings have been mandatory in places you can’t social distance since May 2020, as of this Wednesday the rules are getting even tougher.
This means face coverings will be required outdoors and in all public places, like the beach, for everyone over the age of six – unless you have a medical condition, respiratory problems or if you are exercising.
However, while this new rule is to be processed as law, it depends on the agreement of regional health ministers and therefore might not be mandated nationwide.
For example, regional authorities could previously allow tourists to take their masks off while they were sunbathing – so long as they maintained a 1.5 metre distance.
Some regions have suggested they would not enforce the rule, with Balearic health minister Patricia Gómez indicating that masks at beaches and by pools will not be obligatory as long as people social distance.
Earlier this week health secretary Matt Hancock said ‘the door is not shut’ on international travel over the summer.
According to reports, the government is considering a four-tier traffic light system for international travel which could allow people to go abroad after May 17th.