United Kingdom

First UK holidaymakers arrive at Athens airport

A group of British travellers have arrived in Greece wearing face masks as coronavirus flight restrictions are lifted two weeks after Spain welcomed its first Britons.  

A Tui flight departed from Gatwick yesterday to Rhodes, while people were pictured arriving at Spata, east of Athens, this afternoon. 

The group included families and couple travellers, all wearing face masks to protect themselves and others from the virus. 

The long-awaited arrivals come at the end of an additional two-week ban on travel to Greece from the UK. 

 Tui, who managed the first flights, is also planning holidays to the islands of Corfu, Crete and Kos, the Independent reported today. 

Among the quarantine measures faced by arrivals are random testing and enhanced security measures to locate travellers while in the country. 

Tourists from the United Kingdom arrive at Athens International Airport after pandemic-related restrictions were lifted by Greece, at Spata, east of Athens today

Tourists from the United Kingdom arrive at Athens International Airport after pandemic-related restrictions were lifted by Greece, at Spata, east of Athens on July 16, 2020

Alexandros Maziotis, a Greek who lives in the UK, said he wasn't tested today.

'I'm planning to be a bit careful, especially the first week, so I make sure I don't pass something to my parents,' he said. 

Before departure, travellers must apply for a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), which provides Athens with detailed information about the tourist and their plans for their stay. 

'Detailed information on their point of departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries, and the address of their stay while in Greece,' the PLF guidelines read. 

'In case of multiple stays, they are required to provide the address for the first 24 hours at least.'

 'Travellers will receive the PLF with their unique Quick Response (QR) code on the day of their scheduled arrival in Greece,' it adds.  

Tourists from the United Kingdom arrive at Athens International Airport after pandemic-related restrictions were lifted by Greece, at Spata, east of Athens today

At the end of last month, Athens extended its prohibition on UK flights to the country from July 1 until yesterday. 

It cited the UK's high rate of coronavirus cases as one of the factors, with Sweden also being blocked for the same reason. 

Greece has previously flip-flopped over allowing UK tourists back in, at one point asking the UK for a deal. 

The state-run Amna news agency reported in June that prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told a tourism industry meeting in Athens today: 'The whole opening procedure is dynamic and the data will be continuously evaluated.' 

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