Europe plans to re-open to international tourists

Chania, Crete.

Some popular European destinations have announced their provisional plans to re-open to international tourism following (hopefully) the passing of the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Greece: The Greek government is now looking to ease its lockdown restrictions and revive the country’s usually booming tourism industry. Hotels will open in Greece from the 15th June, with international tourists welcomed back from 1st July. The Greek tourism minister suggested that Britons are unlikely to be allowed to visit the country until the UK infection rate diminishes further, but hoped that a mutual no-quarantine deal could be made between the two countries at that point.

Cyprus: Cyprus will allow will allow direct flights from 19 countries in two stages starting on 9th June, but the UK is not one of the countries on the list. The government first imposed a flight ban on 21st March as part of a strict lockdown.

Italy: Giorgio Palmucci, president of the Italian National Tourist Board, ENIT, told local media that European tourists will be the first international group to be allowed to visit. He said: “I am ready to sign bilateral treaties between European countries to encourage the arrival of foreigners as well while waiting for the emergency to be definitively behind us. We will only start (with tourists) from the European Union, and at the earliest, in July or August.”

Turkey: The country had previously said that they hoped to be able to see travellers back by July. But whilst life for residents is slowly returning to normal as measures are relaxed during May, tourists are not yet allowed back in. And they will need a certificate stating they don’t have the virus in order to be allowed into the country, the government has said. Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said that European tourists won’t be able to enter the country until the end of July at the latest.

Portugal: Portugal’s infection rate has been comparatively low compared to its unfortunate neighbour Spain, and, on the 18th May, museums, art galleries, palaces and churches re-opened, as well as restaurants, cafés and shops. Theatres, concert halls and beaches will follow in early June, all being well. Portuguese tourist authorities have created a Clean & Safe stamp, which is received by companies in the tourist sector that comply with hygiene and cleanliness requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19. Quarantine is not currently required for foreign visitors to mainland Portugal, although there are different rules applicable to Madeira and the Azores.