Greece, Cyprus Woo UK Tourists as Travel Curbs Persist

March 6, 2021 Updated: March 6, 2021

Greece and Cyprus have both promised to facilitate the arrival of British tourists in the Mediterranean holiday destinations this summer, even as the UK authorities step up their crackdown on “illegal” foreign travel in the run-up to Easter.

In an interview published in The Telegraph on Saturday, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said that his country will “open up to our beloved friends from the UK.”

“We will try to make it as smooth and hassle-free as possible. They can book flights and start choosing the places where they want to go.”

Greece virus tourism
Passengers of a flight from Budapest wearing protective face masks arrive at the Corfu Airport Ioannis Kapodistrias on Corfu Island on July 1, 2020. (Angelos Tzortzinis /AFP via Getty Images)

Britons will need just one of three things to enter Greece: a certificate of vaccination, proof that they have antibodies against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, or a negative test.

Cyprus said on Friday that vaccinated British tourists will be welcomed to the island from May 1.

As long as they have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least seven days before travelling, they will not need to have a negative test or to quarantine, Cypriot Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told the Cyprus News Agency.

Cyprus tourism
Cyprus’ Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios speaks during an interview with AFP in the capital Nicosia on June 4, 2020. (Etienne Torbey/AFP via Getty Images)

But under the UK government’s roadmap out of the lockdown, international travel will not be resumed before May 17 at the earliest.

Despite rapidly dropping infection rates, the UK government announced on Friday it was stepping up its crackdown on “illegal” foreign trips.

From March 8, passengers travelling abroad from England will need to carry a form proving their trips are essential, the government said in a statement.

The police will also conduct spot checks at ports and airports. Passengers who are caught attempting to travel internationally without a legally permitted reason will be asked to return home and may face a fine.

Under England’s lockdown rules, it is illegal to travel abroad for reasons other than work, volunteering, education, medical or compassionate grounds, or weddings, funerals, and related events.

Some backbench MPs in the ruling Conservative Party have expressed opposition to the continuing lockdown rules.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs, told NTD last week that the pace of the planned exit is “slower than many of us would have liked” and “slower than the data would suggest is possible.”

“My most fundamental concern about the lockdown approach is that it has interfered with really fundamental human rights,” he said.

With reporting by Jane Werrell of NTD.