Published on : Friday, May 8, 2020
Greece, Cyprus, and Israel are planning to set up a common effort to revive the tourism sector, named as the “corona corridor” in order to help and support the industry that has been harshly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin the decision comes as an effort to attract tourists who are not willing to travel far in the coming months under unprecedented circumstances but might be more open to visiting neighboring countries. Greek Tourism Minister Harris Theoharis added that both Cyprus and Israel have decided to co-operate and shown interest in the initiative. He mentioned that the scheme is ambitious but several details are yet to be worked out.
However, he also informed that there are several obstacles regarding the implementation of the plan by the three countries. He said the main obstacle at the moment is the mandatory quarantine for arrivals from foreign countries, as Israel requires two weeks of isolation after traveling abroad. Moreover, Greece and Cyprus are both EU member states that have open borders with the rest of the Schengen Area under normal circumstances. After Cyprus, Greece is considered to be the most vulnerable country regarding the tourism sector in the European Union.
The tourism industry contributes to nearly 10% of GDP in the European Union. The share of the travel industry in GDP is even higher in Greece or Malta with 20-25%. On the other hand, Spain generates about €145 billion ($157 billion) in the tourism sector. According to an estimation provided by the European Commission, the travel industry might witness a 70% drop in the year with the cruise industry being the hardest hit with a 90% loss.