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Greece to reopen six ports to cruise ships this week


Agence France-Presse

Athens  /  Wed, July 29, 2020  /  11:38 am
Greece to reopen six ports to cruise ships this week

A woman gazes across the view of the town of Fyra in the island of Santorini on June 14, 2020 as the country prepares for the return of tourists to Greece from around 30 countries by air, sea and land. (AFP/Aris Messinis)

Greece will reopen six of its ports, including Piraeus in Athens, to cruise ships on Saturday for the first time in the coronavirus-shortened tourism season, the tourism minister said.

In a letter to the Cruise Lines International Association and three major cruise operators, Harry Theoharis said the ports of Piraeus, Rhodes, Iraklio, Volos, Corfu and Katakolo would accept passengers, state agency ANA reported Tuesday.

After docking at one of these ports, cruise ships will subsequently be able to travel elsewhere in Greece, depending on local coronavirus conditions, he said.

Read also: Set sail and social distance: Taiwan resumes ocean cruise amid pandemic

With a quarter of the economy dependent on tourism, Greece has sought to capitalize on its relatively low infection rate to bring in visitors.

So far officials have announced nearly 4,200 infections and 202 deaths.

Last month, Greece began progressively reopening its land borders to select countries, before allowing mostly European flights to all its airports on July 1.

Since then, there have been over 340 confirmed infections among nearly 1.3 million incoming travelers, the civil protection agency said Tuesday.

But demand is lagging.

Greek hotels are about a fifth full, according to the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, and local cruise operators do not expect bookings before September.

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