Dutch travel company Sunweb has announced that it plans to take nearly 200 people for an eight-day holiday in Greece. One of the main goals is to see whether tourism is feasible at this point in time, despite the rise in contagion cases in several European countries.
Sunweb is offering 187 tickets for people aged 18-70, which will be chosen by age group and according to rules set by the government; people with high-risk conditions will be excluded. Those selected will have an all-inclusive getaway on the island of Rhodes, in Greece, at a cost of €399 per person. Some restrictions apply, however.They will not be allowed to leave the resort and will have to quarantine for up to 10 days when they return to the Netherlands.
First I got corona and got very sick. Then I lost my job. I’m looking forward to doing absolutely nothing at a resort and recovering from this turbulent year.Participant Corina Gouderjaan to Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws
Travelers will be tested before and after the trip, and if someone is infected during the trip they will have to quarantine at a Greek “Covid hotel”, the cost of which would be covered by the tour company. Participants will be given exclusive use of a hotel, the swimming pools and restaurants but will not be allowed to go out on to the beach.
At least 25,000 people have signed up for the government-backed experiment. The Dutch government’s travel advice until the middle of May is that all non-essential travel should be avoided.
Several southern European countries such as Greece rely heavily on tourism and are putting a lot of effort into making sure the high season of 2021 is not lost. Greece has been one of the European countries advocating for a quick implementation of the EU health passport.
According to the BBC, experiments like the one run in the Netherlands, though risky, could potentially help to determine whether there is a Covid-secure way to allow people to take an overseas break during the pandemic.
The Netherlands has recorded at least 16,536 deaths and 1,246,366 cases of infection during the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.