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International holidays could become an option for millions of people this year, as countries start working on Covid passports. In theory, they should help facilitate safe trips between nations, allowing them to save the emaciated travel industry. But no country has yet put this into practice, with Greece closest to doing so.
When will Greece introduce travel passports?
Greece is one country currently working towards frictionless travel.
The nation, which raked in roughly €35 billion (£30 billion) per year from tourism revenue before the pandemic, is looking for a way to help revitalise its economy.
Greek officials have entered talks with the British Government about allowing vaccinated people to go on holiday.
They have already struck a deal with Israel, allowing quarantine-free travel between their nations.
Haris Theoharis, the Greek tourism minister, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme his country could do the same with the UK.
Mr Theoharis said “preliminary discussions” had started between Greek and UK officials, hoping to allow friction-free travel for the nearly four million Brits who holiday to the Mediterranean hotspot every year.
He added the hope is for a “semi-normal summer” bolstered by the UK’s vaccine rollout.
Greek officials currently only allow travel into the country with a negative Covid test taken at least 72 hours before.
UK residents must also take an additional rapid test on arrival.
While the news is encouraging for holidaymakers, there is no concrete movement as of yet.
Mr Theoharis said officials have not yet decided whether the current plan is “feasible”.
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He added he was “very hopeful that we can reach a solution”.
If the conversations bear fruit, Mr Theoharis said people would need a “vaccination certificate” to enter without quarantine.
He said he hoped officials could at least work to improve the current travel situation.
He said: “We hope this summer, with the vaccination programme underway, that the situation will be much better than what it is currently.”
British ministers recently urged people not to book summer holidays out of the country.
Speaking last week, travel minister Grant Shapps said it was too soon for people to start thinking about any kind of vacation.
He told BBC Radio 4: “People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally.”
He added he could provide a “definitive” answer for whether either option would become feasible in 2021.
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