The bilateral agreements between Greece and Israel, and Cyprus and Israel that enable restriction-free admission are paving the way for a return to travel, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis in an interview to Kathimerini Cyprus.
“The agreement we just signed with Israel serves as a model for our overall strategy. Greece is advancing in the field of tourism with extroversion, with formal, flexible, and beneficial for all sides collaborations in the wider area of the Mediterranean,” said Theoharis.
Referring to the importance of the Israeli market, Theoharis said Israel was among the top 10 source markets for the country. In 2019, more than 700,000 Israelis visited Greece. “And we were expecting this figure to increase had it not been the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic”, he added.
The Greek minister also referred to a closer cooperation between the two countries on tourism issues with a focus on the exchange of knowhow, health protocols, marketing, tourism training, as well as the mutual exchange of tourists: “actions which will benefit both sides”, he said.
Referring to the need of people to travel, Theoharis said that Mediterranean destinations were moving up in terms of preference particularly among northern Europeans. Citing feedback from tourism stakeholders, the minister expressed his confidence that once travel restrictions are lifted, Greece and Cyprus will be winning over travelers due in large part to the effective management of the pandemic by both countries.
Lastly, he referred to the importance of implementing an EU-wide vaccination certificate – an idea proposed by Greece to the European Commission – which would facilitate restriction-free travel among member states and contribute to restarting national economies.