Greece has announced that it is welcoming visitors from the UK this summer. The requirements for travellers are detailed below. Until the next review, Greece is currently on Amber and the requirements are as follows-:
REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER GREECE FROM UK
• For all passengers aged over 12 years old a PCR test taken within 72 hours or Antigen test taken 48 hours before your departure from the UK, except if you have been fully vaccinated 14 days before your departure. Please see the following information-:
VACCINATED TRAVELLERS: Travellers having had both vaccinations (received more than 14 days prior to travel) will be permitted travel without the need for a PCR test and will be fast tracked on Entry into Greece. Proof of the Vaccination can now be provided on the NHS App https://digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-app/nhs-app-guidance-for-gp-practices/nhs-covid-pass or by calling 119 to get a letter. The name on the vaccination certificate must match your passport.
NON-VACCINATED TRAVELLERS: If you have not been vaccinated travellers arriving in Greece are required to have either a negative PCR certificate from a testing laboratory, for a Covid-19 test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival or a negative antigen (rapid) certificate taken no longer than 48 hours before arrival.
This test is mandatory for all tourists (including children over the age of 12. negative PCR test result is required to travel. At Ionian Island Holidays , we have a partnership through AITO with Randox Health (one of the UK government’s approved providers) and our travellers can purchase a test for £43 per person https://www.randoxhealth.com/covid-19-home-testing-kit/ applying this discount code AITO43.
Proof of a negative PCR or test is not required if the traveller was tested positive with COVID-19 in the past 2 to 9 months. This can be proved either by presenting a positive PCR molecular or an antigen test result performed by an authorized laboratory or a medical certificate confirming that the holder was tested positive with SARS-CoV-2 virus infection.
• A completed Greek Passenger Locator Form (PLF). https://travel.gov.gr/#/ This questionnaire must be completed a minimum of 24 hours prior to departure. It is your responsibility to do so as will be any costs incurred for new flight tickets and amendments to your travel plans should the form not be submitted. Airlines are denying boarding to those who fail to provide evidence of their submission and their unique QR code. You can find a step-to-step guide to completing the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) https://www.ionianislandholidays.com/pdf/covid19/PLF_Guide.pdf
• Random testing on arrival Every traveller who arrives in Greece, regardless of the certificate in their possession, may undergo a random health screening. If you are selected, please keep in mind that the screening is mandatory. In case of refusal, authorities reserve the right to refuse entry into the country.
REQUIREMENTS TO RETURN BACK TO UK FROM GREECE
• A PCR, LAMP or Antigen test taken at a clinic within 72 hours of your return to the UK. This test is taken – our team on the ground will provide the necessary information. A negative test result is required to travel. Further details can be found here. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england
Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays will be providing this test Free of Charge for all Package Holiday Travels throughout May / June & July.
Alternatively, you may purchase this test from one of the UK Government approved providers before your departure from the UK and take it with you. If you do this, you will need to complete a self- declaration before you travel and download a certificate from the provider you purchased the test before you return flight to the UK.
• A completed UK Passenger Locator Form (PLF). https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk
• PCR tests on return from travels as per the government’s traffic light system. Greece has been categorised as Amber and as such a 10-day period of self-isolation applies plus a PCR test on/before Day 2 and on/after Day 8 is required. These tests must be ordered before your return to the UK. Tests can be ordered from Randox Health https://www.randoxhealth.com/covid-19-day-2-and-8-testing/ using AITO43 to reduce from £96 to £86 for the tests on Day 2 and Day 8 package.
This code should be used for all other Randox Health packages:
• Pre-departure kit is reduced to £43 per test (only required for non- vaccinated travellers)
• Day 5 – Test to Release = £43
• Day 2 and Day 8 = £86 (£43 per test)
A full list of other Govt accredited providers for the Day 2 and Day 8 tests can be found here. https://www.gov.uk/find-travel-test-provider
CURRENT UK ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Children under 11 years of age are exempt from testing upon entry into UK from Green and Amber countries
BUT – All travellers aged 5 and over returning from an ‘Amber’ country are required to book a post-arrival day 2/day 8 PCR testing package.
For destination entry requirements please check FCDO Travel Advice.
Full details of people who are exempt from taking a COVID-19 test is available on the FCDO website. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece
WHAT TO EXPECT AND HOW WE WILL BE KEEPING YOU SAFE
Currently, Greece has been placed on the UK Amber list. We expect the next review date will be 15th July unless the UK government publish an indication of change of status sooner or later.
Greece has also embarked on a vaccine immunization program which should result in over the majority of the population having been vaccinated by the end of June 2021. In fact, many islands have already been fully vaccinated and all those working in the tourist sector including restaurant staff have been prioritized to receive a vaccination regardless of age. Many islands we feature have had Zero Covid cases for several weeks now and the infection rates are significantly lower than those currently in the UK. On this basis are no epidemiological reasons why Greece should not be on the Green List. We are hopeful that Greece will be put on the Green List by the next review date.
Q. Can I travel whilst Greece is Amber?
A. While travel from England, Scotland and Wales is permitted to countries on the green list, we are hopeful that Greece will be added to the green list by the next review date.
In the meantime, the UK Government is currently advising people not to make non-essential trips to locations on its amber list, which covers popular destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. However, in yesterday’s announcement the UK government also said that vaccinated people will soon be made exempt from quarantining, which may make travel much easier. There is no doubt that the governments mixed messaging over the traffic light system has created much confusion. As a result, this guidance is being ignored by several travellers who are prepared to isolate on their return. EasyJet, British Airways and Tui have both said that they will operate flights and holidays to countries and destinations classified as amber.
On this basis we have been contacted by several customers who are prepared and willing to travel against Government advice. Where customers are fully aware of the UK Government advice, the quarantine and testing requirements on their return to the UK and still wish to travel. Provided we can find a suitable flight that meet your requirements we will plan to facilitate your holiday.
Please Note that if you do decide to travel whilst the status is Amber, we will require full payment. Once you have consented to travelling under the current advise we will issue tickets and confirm your travel arrangements. At this stage, our normal cancellation charges will apply.
Several travel insurers including Stay sure, Battle face and Avanti are now allowing travellers to purchase an add on their policy for as little as £5 to cover travel to European countries against FCDO advice.
Irrespectively, the Greek government has confirmed that hospitalisation is free for all UK citizens.
In the rare event that you would be required to quarantine after your intended return Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays will do everything possible to provide you with accommodation in one of our properties for the period you are required to isolate, this will be subject to availability. If this is not possible to accommodate you in one of our properties, the Greek Government have designated hotels on each island where you can isolate free of charge. Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays will also assist in altering your return tickets where possible from our existing flight commitments. If there are any additional costs these should be covered by your travel insurance.
Q. Do I have to travel if the country is Amber and what Flexibility is there?
A. Provided that you are required to isolate on your return to the UK or if Greek government were to impose isolation restrictions on your entry into Greece you will not have to travel. Given the UK government is considering removing advice against all but essential travel and making travel to amber countries much easier without the need to quarantine on your return. On this basis and until we receive further clarification from the UK government, we will be contacting all customers who are due to travel up to July 15th , in date order of departures. We will keep on extending this date as necessary until the next review date or if there is further guidance. Customers not wishing to travel will be given several options. For customers departing after July 15th. We have also changed the balance due dates until we know the situation by the next review date.
For holidays due to depart up to July 15th we are offering the following options-:
* Change your holiday for another date this year or book the same holiday (subject to availability) for 2022. If you chose to change to next year this will be based on 2021 published rates and include a further 5 % early booking discount & loyalty discount where applicable.
If you chose to continue travelling but on a different date or destination, Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays will do everything possible to help provide you with all the new options. However, if the total of your new holiday is more, then you will have to pay the difference, which will need to be paid when the balance becomes due. If the cost of the new holiday is less than the amount you have paid then we will refund the difference.
For holidays that were due to depart up to I5 July that are changed you will not need to pay a new deposit.
* If you cannot decide at this moment in time but still intend to travel with us, Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays are offering a Refund Credit Note equivalent to the money you have paid us, which is fully protected under ATOL bonding and in line with guidance issued by ABTA, guaranteeing that your money is 100% safe. The Refund Credit Note can be used for any of our holidays travelling before the 31 Oct 22, and we will allow you up to the 31 March 2022 to confirm your new travel arrangements.
If you decide not to rebook a holiday with you will still be eligible for a cash refund at the expiry date of the Refund Credit Note. It also retains the financial protection you had with your original booking.
* Requesting a cash refund for the value of the money paid to date. We would urge you firstly to consider a Refund Credit, which is fully financially protected, is refunded if unused and aids our cash flow in these difficult times for the company. Refunds are being currently taking up to 2 weeks to process.
Q. I am travelling after July 15 what shall I do?
A. We are hopeful that Greece will be on The Green List or having to isolate will not be necessary by the next review date. Therefore, for Guests traveling after 15 July, we have changed our balance due dates to allow greater flexibility until the next review or as soon as we know what will be happening. If you wish to defer your trip, outside of the aforementioned dates then it more difficult for us to change your holiday without incurring cancellation fees or supplier amendment fees, which is why we ask you to please be patient. If Greece remains Amber, it is much easier to change flights and accommodation arrangements with our suppliers. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Travelling to Greece & Keeping You Safe
Our attention is firmly focused on ensuring we have done everything possible to make travel safe and enjoyable in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. To help inform and reassure our guests about what to expect from your Ionian & Aegean Island Holiday this summer, we have answered a few of your questions below:
Q. Is Greece a Safe Destination to go on holiday?
A. From the 15 May 21, Greece is ready to welcome tourists for a long-anticipated holiday season. Most Greek Islands have very low rates of infection, being unanimously glorified by the international media for is handling of the crisis. Greece was able to operate for a large part of the summer season last year successfully testing the safety measures implemented. Its positive health performance record against coronavirus in combination with its countless secluded islands makes it the perfect destination for your holiday!
Q. What is a PLF form, and do I have to fill this in before I travel?
A. The Passenger Locator Form (PLF) must be completed by all passengers visiting Greece. This must be completed at least 24 hours before entering the country, providing detailed information on your point of departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries, and the address of your stay while in Greece. In the case of twin centre holidays, passengers are required to provide the address which they will be staying at both accommodations.
Passengers will subsequently receive their unique Quick Response (QR) code in the evening (at 22:00 UK time) prior to your scheduled arrival in Greece and will be notified via email. A QR code will be provided in a link in the confirmation email. Travellers will be requested to show their QR code either on their mobile phone screen or in print on their arrival.
Only one PLF form needs to be completed per family unit or group however all passengers must be listed otherwise you will be denied boarding.
To assist you in completing the form, please note that many of the Greek Islands do not have street names please see our step-to-step guide.
Therefore, when completing the form, it is sufficient to put the following information.
Depending on where you are staying the following Post Codes apply.
Q. What testing is in place when I arrive in Greece and if I am tested do, I need to be quarantined?
A. Spot Rapid tests are carried out on arrival at all Greek airports. Selection is randomly based on scanning your QR code on arrival. If you are selected for a test this consist of a swab test which only takes a few minutes. If you are tested, you will still be allowed to continue with your onward transfers and your holiday normally.
In the rare event you prove positive you will be given instructions of what you need to do by local health officials. What happens next depends on individual circumstances & will also depend on your symptoms. If you have a mild reaction and there is adequate room in the accommodation you are staying and are able to self-isolate, you will be allowed to stay there for the duration of your holiday. If the isolation period exceeds the duration of your initial stay, we will either find suitable accommodation where you can continue your isolation or you can choose to go to one of the Free of Charge hotels that the Greek Government are providing on each island. You will incur no additional expense for this accommodation.
Please note that hospitalization In Greece is free for all UK nationals.
We will also assist in finding an alternative flight home when you are able to travel. In most cases, this cost will be covered by your travel insurance.
Q. What will the travel experience be like?
A. Without doubt, the airport and flying experience will be different this year. The UK and Greek governments are requiring passengers on all public transport, including flights, to wear face masks. You can also expect to be required to wear a face mask in airport terminal buildings and at the boarding gate. In summary, you should be prepared to wear a mask or face covering at all points of your journey.
The UK government is also advising minimising luggage and checking baggage into the hold wherever possible. All flights bought as part of Ionian & Aegean Island Holiday packages include hold baggage.
Many airlines are changing their on-board service, offering limited catering; we, therefore, recommend you stock up after you go through security and before you board with any drinks and snacks you require.
For specific information about how the airlines we use are adapting flying in the ‘new normal’, including how they are cleaning aircraft, please refer to their dedicated webpages:
· EASY JET
· JET 2
· British Airways
· Ryan Air
· Enter Air
Q. Does Greece have any protocols in place to ensure our safety?
A. Greece has very strict protocols in place with regards to distancing and hygiene. For more details of some of these measures please refer here. https://travel.gov.gr/#/
(Please note that some of the protocols mentioned in this link do not apply to members of the same party.)
Q. How will transfers operate?
A. The number of passengers allowed on coaches and boats that we use for our transfers have been restricted to approximately 60 % of their normal capacity. Protocols are in place to ensure that coaches and boats are sanitised and cleaned after each journey.
Q. What measures are in place for restaurants?
A. Fortunately, many restaurants, tavernas and bars in Greece have extensive outdoor areas. You do not have to wear masks in tavernas or outside spaces however the use of masks is required in other closed spaces.
Tables in restaurants have been spaced out and members of the same family unit can sit on the same table. Restaurant must follow these protocols with regards to hygiene.
Food services – Kitchens
• All kitchens in hotels are obliged to follow Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), an internationally recognised method of identifying and managing food safety related risk.
• Goods must be served by specific staff members who always wear gloves and masks.
• All kitchen staff members should keep distance from one another, in accordance to the requirements of health authorities.
• Entrance to the kitchen area is prohibited for the public.
Food services – Restaurants (a la carte, buffet, breakfast rooms) and bars (indoor and outdoor)
• The same rules apply as in restaurants and bars in the country, according to the current legal framework.
All restaurant and bar managers must implement social distancing through table spacing and guest seating.
Q. What cleaning measures are in place with regards to my accommodation?
A. Protocols issued by the Greek Government vary for Villas, Apartments, Hotels under 50 Rooms and larger establishments over 50 rooms.
For all our accommodation cleaners will have attended training courses organised by the Greek Tourist Board and will have been certified that they have attended these courses.
· Cleaners will be paying extra attention to cleaning ‘high touch’ areas in the accommodation. These include light switches, remote controls, hairdryers, safes, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, kitchen utensils, keys and handrails.
· Cleaners will be asked to use hypochlorite solution to thoroughly disinfect the accommodation before occupation by each party and all villas will be steam cleaned at each change over.
· All bedding will be laundered in cycles where temperatures are maintained at 65°C for not less than ten minutes, or 71°C for not less than three minutes.
· Hand sanitiser will be provided in all accommodation for our guests.
· The contents of welcome hampers will be limited as we do not want individuals other than cleaners and guests to enter the accommodation.
· Practical measures such as any unnecessary paper e.g., leaflets and guides and some ornaments will be removed from the accommodation to minimise any risk.
· Cleaners themselves will follow strict protocols, including wearing disposable gloves, wearing suitable shoes and following social distancing rules when working in teams.
· Chlorine and pH levels of their pools will be tested twice a week for villas and daily for apartments and hotels, including changeover days. Levels are strictly maintained to ensure pools offer a safe environment for our guests.
· For shared accommodation and hotels either sunbeds will be allocated to specific apartments or rooms where practical, or where there are limited sunbeds, these will be disinfected by staff after each usage.
Q. What happens if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 whilst I am on holiday?
A. Our local teams and partners have been fully briefed on the processes and procedures necessary should there be an outbreak, or suspected outbreak, of COVID-19 whilst you are on holiday. The response will vary depending on whether you are staying in a villa, with just your own party, or in a hotel or complex with other guests. Should you, or anyone in your party come down with any symptoms of COVID-19, please inform our local representative immediately and they will advise you of the next steps. As always, our dedicated teams are there to ensure your welfare and are ready and happy to communicate on your behalf with local health professionals and authorities.
Q. Do I need to be insured against Covid19?
A. It is essential you have the correct travel insurance. Please check that your insurance is valid. You should check that your policy covers you for medical expenses, subsistence, and repatriation if you or a member of your party contact COVID-19 during your holiday. You will need to contact your insurance to check if you are covered. Some insurances are allowing customers extensions on their policies to cover specifically for COVID-19.
Several travel insurers including Stay sure, Battle face and Avanti are now allowing travellers to purchase an add on their policy for as little as £5 to cover travel to European countries against FCDO advice.
Irrespectively, the Greek government has confirmed that hospitalization is free for all UK citizens.
The above information is correct at 25-June 21. We reserve the right to change our policies.