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Athens:

 
Greek authorities have announced that foreign tourists would be allowed in the country from July 1, when direct flights to tourist destinations were scheduled to gradually resume.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced the news during a speech on Wednesday, in which he introduced his administration’s plan to re-launch tourism, a major contributor towards the country’s economy, reports Efe news.

Hotels will be able to open as of June 15.

Tourists arriving in Greece will not have to quarantine themselves, but they may be subjected to random coronavirus tests and will have to follow a strict hygiene protocol during their trip.

“Our strength is the certificate of safety, reliability and health that our country has earned. Its great fame. The health shield, hospitality everywhere and, of course, the passion of the Greeks,” said Mitsotakis.

He also announced a series of measures to support the tourism and hospitality sectors as well as the reduction of VAT from 24 per cent to 13 per cent over the next five months on all public transport cards, coffee, non-alcoholic beverages and tickets to outdoor cinemas.

The government will also subsidize wages and social security contributions of workers in the tourism sector and present a support program for domestic tourism thought for the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

Labour Minister Yannis Vrutsis said it would also finance, until September, 120,000 seasonal workers from the tourism sector who will find themselves jobless during the summer.

In 2019, Greece received 34 million visitors – of which 24.2 million travelled to the country between April and September. They brought with them a 19 billion euros of income.

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