The Greek tourism minister said that they could mean the country will be able to enjoy a “semi-normal summer”
The government of Greece is in talks with the UK to see if vaccination certificates could be introduced, the country’s tourism minister has said.
Tourism minister Harry Theoharis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are in very preliminary discussions. I’m very hopeful we can reach some sort of solution.
“We certainly hope that with the vaccination programmes under way, and the UK is one of the leading countries in that respect […] we can have a semi-normal summer,” he said, adding: “We could recognise they have chosen to get vaccinated so there is no need to test them again and again.”
Greece is one of the most popular destinations for Britons, with more than four millions visits each year.
“The vaccination certificates are issued by governments, by single authorities, not by various labs in various countries, so again it’s a step forward, that is why we are starting these discussions early in order to be able to solve any technical issues,” Theoharis said.
It follows comments by ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer about the possibility of vaccination certificates.
“Having the option to obtain some sort of vaccine certificate will be important because this evidence, alongside testing, is likely to be part of the way to reopen travel,” he said.
“We would like to see the government work with the industry on how we can have a voluntary certificate that will be able to demonstrate that you’ve been vaccinated, meaning you don’t have to test or quarantine. That would be a real incentive to get people travelling again. We already know that some overseas governments such as Greece and Cyprus are looking at proof of vaccination as a way for travellers to avoid testing and quarantine requirements.”
“We should also remember that having a vaccine certificate isn’t a new idea. There are examples that already exist for viral diseases, such as yellow fever, where there is an internationally recognised standard of certification that you have been vaccinated,” Tanzer added.
In a blog, he wrote: “I understand concerns around discrimination and data privacy, which is why any vaccine certificate should be optional. The government has asked people to participate in the vaccination scheme and in the test and trace programme; people who have done so have the right to their personal data.
“While I strongly believe that being vaccinated, and having evidence of it that is recognised internationally, must be part of the solution to reopening travel – it cannot be the only route. There need to be other ways, such as a practical and cost-effective testing regimes, to allow those who are yet to be vaccinated to travel.”
Ultra-luxury line Crystal joins the likes of Swan Hellenic and Saga in asking for proof of vaccination before sailing
Crystal has announced that it will now require all guests to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to embarkation.
Guests will need to provide proof of vaccination before sailing and must have received both doses of the vaccine if recommended by the manufacturer. The ultra-luxury line joins the likes of Swan Hellenic and Saga in making the measure mandatory.
The vaccine requirement is part the company’s comprehensive Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, including negative Covid-19 tests for guests and crew, temperature checks at the terminal prior to boarding, a “nimble” mask policy, social distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures, reduced capacity and more.
“We are encouraged by the progress being made with the Covid-19 vaccines and what this means for our Crystal Family and the travel industry as a whole as we eagerly look forward to exploring the world again,” said Crystal’s interim president and CEO, Jack Anderson.
“We know that peace of mind is the greatest luxury; and the vaccine requirement is simply the best way to ensure the safest possible Crystal Experience for all on board. This sentiment is underscored by conversations with our guests and travel partners and a recent Cruise Critic survey of cruisers that revealed more than 80 per cent of respondents would cruise if a vaccine were required.
“As part of the company’s Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, crew members will be tested for Covid-19 prior to leaving their home location to join the ship and must receive a negative result. They also will take a Covid-19 test at embarkation; quarantine for seven days upon arrival; be tested again at the end of that seven-day period and must receive a negative result before beginning their duties,” Anderson said.
“When vaccines are widely available, they will be a requirement of employment for crew which must be completed at least 14 days prior to service.”
In addition to providing verified documentation of their Covid-19 vaccine at the time of boarding, guests will complete an online form acknowledging this requirement before their cruise tickets will be issued. Crystal has published a frequently asked questions document on the advisory alert section of its website for further reference.
Crystal said it will continue to evaluate and update its Crystal Clean+ 4.0 health and safety protocols for its luxury brand experiences – Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises and the upcoming Crystal Expedition Cruises – according to the latest scientific data and expert guidance.