FCDO TRAVEL ADVICE: We are delighted to advise that as the FCDO advice has been updated and the FCDO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Greece, including all the Greek Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
See UK Govt Foreign Travel Advice for Greece. here https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece
Additionally: Quarantine-free travel is to resume on 19 July for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber list countries.
• From 19 July, passengers returning to the UK from Amber countries who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days) or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list counties will no longer need to quarantine. Passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel.
• Pre-departure testing and day 2 testing measures to remain.
• Children under the age of 18 to be exempt from quarantine on returning to England from amber countries.
• The recommendation for people to not travel to amber countries will has been removed from 19 July.
• Passengers over the age of 18 who have not been fully vaccinated will still be allowed to travel but will be required to self-isolate at home on their return and do a Day 2 & Day 8 test. The option of test to release early on day 5 will still be an option.
For specific details of what is required under the under new arrangements please read the following sections
*REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER GREECE FROM UK
*REQUIREMENTS TO RETURN BACK TO UK FROM GREECE
REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER GREECE FROM UK
* For all passengers aged over 12 years old a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an 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 https://www.ionianislandholidays.com/pdf/covid19/PLF_Guide.pdf guide to completing the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) https://travel.gov.gr/#/
* 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 departing up to 31 July.
From 1 Aug we will be able to arrange these tests for you at all our destinations prior to your return and the cost will be vary between 20- 25 Euros per person depending on the resort.
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. From 19 July, passengers returning to the UK from Amber countries who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days) or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list counties will no longer need to quarantine. Passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel.
* Pre-departure testing and day 2 testing measures to remain.
• Children under the age of 18 to be exempt from quarantine on returning to England from amber countries. Passengers over the age of 18 who have not been fully vaccinated will still be allowed to travel but will be required to self-isolate at home on their return and do a Day 2 & Day 8 test. The option of test to release early on day 5 will still be an option. 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 to the cost of the tests. 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 over 12 years old )
• Day 2 Test = £43 inc discount
• Day 5 – Test to Release = £43 inc discount
• Day 2 and Day 8 = £86 (£43 per test) inc discount
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
WHAT TO EXPECT AND HOW WE WILL BE KEEPING YOU SAFE
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.
The last few months have been challenging to say the least. The way we shop, where we work, and how we socialise have all changed. Our holidays, and how we get there, is also adapting to ensure travel is enjoyable, efficient, and safe. As the summer season returns and travel restrictions are eased, we want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to continue to take you and your family on safe and enjoyable holidays to Greece and her islands. From check-in, flights, resort transfers or car hire, in fact, everything including your villa, apartment, pension or hotel, we have every element of your holiday covered. So, with that in mind, we have outlined our promise to you, so you can enjoy your holidays with us with complete peace of mind.
Q. Can I travel whilst Greece is Amber?
A. FCDO TRAVEL ADVICE: The FCDO advice has been updated and the FCDO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Greece, including all the Greek Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. See UK Govt Foreign Travel Advice for Greece. here https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece Additionally: Quarantine-free travel is to resume on 19 July for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber list countries. Passengers over the age of 18 who have not been fully vaccinated will still be allowed to travel but will be required to self-isolate at home on their return and do a Day 2 & Day 8 test. The option of test to release early on day 5 will still be an option.
On this basis of the recent Government announcement and given the resumption of flights to most Greek Destinations we will be operating our holidays as normal.
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 or prior to departure. 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 providing cover for Covid 19.
Irrespective of your insurance, the Greek government has confirmed that hospitalization 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. Your travel insurance will also cover any additional costs if this were to happen. 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 also be covered by your travel insurance.
Q. Do I have to travel if the country is Amber and what Flexibility is there?
A. As the FCDO is now not advising against all but essential travel to Greece and our holidays have resumed operating provided we can still fulfil all the elements of your holiday, our standard booking conditions and cancellation terms will apply. If at this point the holiday is operating and you chose not to travel, you will need to cancel your holiday in writing.
Up to the point where the FCDO were advising against all but essential travel we have been extremely flexible in terms of rescheduling holidays providing refunds and extending balance due payments. The last year has been extremely difficult for our industry with exceptionally high operating cost with no income and no government support.
As we operate a committed flight and accommodation program and given that these services will be operating the deposits and payments, we have paid to these suppliers relating to your bookings are non-refundable and we cannot afford to absorb these costs.
Please understand when you decide to cancel, we are not profiting from your loss of deposit or payments that you have made to us. In most cases what we have paid already out to suppliers from your booking has exceeded the deposits or payment that we have received from you.
Exceptions: If you decide you want to cancel, we will only make the following exceptions
* If you or a member in your party is aged between 18-30 and has not been fully vaccinated at the time you travel.
* If you are over 30 and have not been vaccinated for medical reasons. (We will need a letter from your GP to confirm this)
Only in these circumstances we will allow you to:
Either 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. A £50 admin fee pp will apply to all changed holidays.
Or receive a Non-Refundable Voucher for the deposit that paid less £50 admin fee per person that you may use against any future holiday with Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays.
Unfortunately, we cannot issue any refunds.
Q. What if Greece imposes a quarantine for UK travellers or if the FCDO advice changes?
A. We very much hope that this will not be the case. The Greek Government have stated that UK visitors are welcome without the need to quarantine provided they fulfil the entry requirements. If however this were to change and you would be required to isolate on arrival in Greece or the FCDO advice to Greece changes to advice against all but essential travel you will not be required to travel.
In these circumstances the following options will be available to you-:
*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.
* If you cannot decide 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. When Can I Change or cancel my holiday?
A. At least 14 days before your scheduled departure date in the event of a travel restriction affecting your holiday is in place, our expert team will contact you personally to discuss your options. We will always do our best to help you switch destinations or dates and ensure you enjoy the holiday you deserve. Alternatively, we can often provide a credit note for future use.
If none of the alternatives are acceptable a refund will also be available.
Under the following circumstances, you are entitled to change or cancel your holiday:
The UK FCDO advise against all non-essential travel to your destination.
Borders to your destination are closed.
You are required to quarantine on arrival at your destination.
The destination country is on the Red List and you are required to quarantine in a Government Hotel for 10 days on your return to the UK.
In the event of a travel restriction affecting your holiday, our expert team will contact you personally to discuss your options. We will always do our best to help you switch destinations or dates and ensure you enjoy the holiday you deserve. Alternatively, we can often provide a credit note for future use. If none of the alternatives are acceptable a refund will also be available.
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.
• Property Name i.e. Villa Aquarius
• Street – You Need to put the area i.e. Fiskardo Kefalonia
• Post Code i.e28084
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 all European countries.
Irrespectively, the Greek government has confirmed that hospitalization is free for all UK citizens.
The above information is correct at 9th July’21