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COVID19: Greece mulls tourism deals with Cyprus, Israel

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Greece is considering making bilateral travel agreements with countries that have similar COVID19 epidemiological profiles –such as Cyprus and Israel, said Greek Tourism Minister, Harry Theoharis.

“Citizens’ safety is the first concern that guides our actions. Τhe reception of tourists in our country will be realized in a balanced way, based on the epidemiological data, the hygiene protocols and developments regarding rapid testing,” Theoharis told the Cyprus News Agency.

“We are closely monitoring events, we are recording all the available data, and we intend to proceed, in consultation with other countries, to the reception of tourists in a way that ensures the health of our citizens and visitors”, he added.

The Greek minister said this could take the shape of bilateral agreements with countries that managed successfully to contain the pandemic such as Cyprus and Israel.

“We are considering various scenarios, and we are making projections in order to proceed to the rebooting of tourism in the best way we can.

The creation of the so-called “safety zone” between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, is a prospect that is on the table. However, there is still a significant number of variables to be clarified.”

Theoharis said the three countries are working towards creating a safe holiday space in the region for tourists from these countries.

“All issues are open, but we are positive towards this prospect and we believe we will manage to find common ground, in alignment with the hygiene protocols and standards, and to reach a reciprocal agreement,” said Theoharis.

He said Greece was the first country to put tourism on the agenda of EU coronavirus discussions.

“The recent developments with the European Commission’s proposals are very important, as they create the framework for a coordinated exit from the crisis while preserving the positive results that Greece succeeded as regards the containment of COVID-19.”

Cyprus is to open its airports from June 9 to around 13 countries which includes Greece, Israel, Bulgaria and Germany – but those arriving in the first 10 days must provide a health certificate proving they are COVID-19 negative.

On the opening of a passenger ferry between Greece and Cyprus, Theoharis explained that it represents a project positively considered by the Greek government, the implementation of which will be examined in detail, after overcoming Covid-19 issues.