International travel could be on the cards sooner than expected. This week, the prime minister of Greece announced that the country would be reopening to international tourists as early as July 1. Air Canada is offering a number of flights to Greece this summer, although it’s important to remember that an active travel advisory remains in place.
In a televised announcement on Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis revealed that the southeastern European country would be reopening to tourists this summer, with plans to welcome international visitors as early as July 1.
Speaking candidly about the importance of safely reopening, Mitsotakis explained, “Sample tests will be conducted on our visitors, and our general health protocols will be adhered to.”
While most travellers, including those from Canada, will not be required to quarantine upon landing in Greece, they may be asked to undergo COVID-19 tests.
Since the beginning of the global pandemic, less than 3,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Greece, and fewer than 170 people have died.
Mitsotakis described the country’s relatively low rates as a "passport of safety, credibility and health" to visitors.
While there is currently a global travel advisory in place in Canada, Air Canada is offering a number of flights to Greece as early as July 1.
While the company's website suggests there's a temporary airport suspension in Athens, a representative from Air Canada has confirmed to Narcity that this is no longer the case.*
"We are planning a restart and intend to fly to Greece as of the end of June," they added.
That said, the airline's website indicates that current schedules are subject to change, as they "continue to monitor demand and government restrictions on travel."
In addition, it's worth noting that Canadian travellers are still currently required to quarantine when returning from abroad, so even if you don't have to isolate upon arrival in Greece, you will when you return home!
In an attempt to boost potential tourism, Mitsotakis also announced that vacation costs would be lowered for all visitors for the next five months.
This means that boat, plane and bus tickets would be reduced, and taxes on coffee, soft drinks and tickets for open-air cinemas would be slashed.
Some seasonal hotels and activities are set to resume as early as June 15, with the first tourists arriving from other European countries via car on the same day.
This follows a similar move from Iceland, who also recently revealed its plans to reopen.
The Nordic island announced plans to start easing international travel no later than June 15, and flights are already available from Canada.
While many Canadian airlines continue to suspend flights into the summer, some international carriers are preparing to restart operations ASAP. In fact, Emirates are set to resumethis week.
*This article has been updated.