A campaign pushing for Greece to be one of the first countries for international travel once Australia opens its borders was begun this week by Neos Kosmos, the Greek Community of Melbourne and the Australian office of the Greek National State Broadcaster (ERT).

Talks this week by a group of eight leaders of countries which have successfully handled the COVID-19 crisis included both Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and bilateral talks between the two have been cordial and promising.

Given that the Greek government recently outlined plans to open borders as of 15 June from travellers of 20 countries, including Australia, Greek Community of Melbourne President Bill Papastergiadis sent separate letters to both leaders calling for travel between the two countries to be a priority.

Mr Papastergiadis pointed out Greece’s success in handling the pandemic in his address to Mr Morrison. “Beyond just tourism, travel to Greece remains an important emotional experience for many Greek Australians and connecting with family and the land of the parents and grandparents is a paramount motivation for thousands of Australian travellers each year,” he wrote.

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Mr Morrison’s office responded to the letter, stating that the issues it addresses will be considered when the time comes to open borders. The initiative has received a great deal of interest in Greece where there is great support for travel between the two countries to resume as soon as possible.

Though borders remain shut in Australia, Neos Kosmos reached out to Australia’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham requesting details of how borders will be opened once international flights resumed and pushing for countries to be assessed according to merit bearing in mind Greece’s successful handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

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