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Greece

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Travel Trip Greece Cyclades

This July 6, 2014 photo shows homes tucked into the waterfront of the island of Mykonos, in an area known as Little Venice. Mykonos is located in the Cyclades, a Greek island chain in the Aegean Sea. The Cyclades are known for panoramic views of the sea, homes tucked into cliffsides and waterfronts, black-sand beaches and dramatic sunsets. (AP Photo/Kristi Eaton)

Tourism accounts for almost 20% of Greece's gross domestic product, as well as one in five jobs, so it's perhaps no surprise the Mediterranean nation is angling to reopen to tourists as soon as it possibly can.

The European country, which managed to keep its coronavirus case numbers low by implementing a strict lockdown early on, plans to allow travelers back in on June 15.

"The tourism period begins on June 15, when seasonal hotels can reopen," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on May 20.

"Let us make this summer the epilogue of the [Covid-19] crisis," he added.

Mitsotakis went on to state that direct international flights to Greek destinations will slowly resume from July 1, and tourists from 29 designated countries will no longer be expected to take a Covid-19 test or go into quarantine on arrival.

However, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis has indicated health officials will conduct spot tests when necessary.

"The tourism experience this summer may be slightly different from what you've had in previous years," Mitsotakis told CNN earlier this month.

"Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece -- provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path."

The 29 countries are Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.

Greece resumed regular ferry services to its islands on May 25, while travel restrictions within the country were lifted on May 18, "allowing movement from one prefecture to another," apart from the islands.

Bars and restaurants have also been allowed to take up business again, while city hotels are scheduled to reopen on June 1, followed by seasonal hotels in July.

All international passengers had previously been required to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival or go into quarantine for 14 days.

Mitsotakis had suggested tourists would be required to undergo testing before their visit as a further precaution in the future, but it seems this is only the case for travelers from countries that aren't on the list, which is based on a document from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency of airports worldwide "located in affected areas with high risk of transmission of the Covid-19 infection."

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