Israel-Egypt look to increase tourism ties; Jordan guest worker program progresses

Kara tells Post if security situation can be calmed, “tourism with Egypt should flourish once again.”

December 1, 2015 20:22
2 minute read.

Traffic is seen on a street along the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt August 2, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) met with an Egyptian diplomat at the Taba border crossing with Egypt on Tuesday in order to discuss ways to restore the strong tourist ties between the two countries.

“We will defeat terrorism, which cannot be allowed to interfere with our daily lives,” Kara told The Jerusalem Post.

If Egypt is able to defeat terrorism in Sinai, and Israel in the Gaza Strip, “then tourism with Egypt should flourish once again,” he said.

The meeting also was meant to strengthen relations between the two countries.

The tourism sector has suffered since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the ongoing Islamist insurgency that is focused in the Sinai Peninsula.

Separately, Kara met with representatives of the Eilat airport, the Wadi Araba border crossing with Jordan, and the manager of the Taba border crossing with Egypt, Yizhak Hai, about progress on the plan to bring Jordanian day workers to work in hotels in Eilat.

Under the plan, which began in the past month, there are currently 150 Jordanian workers working in Eilat and by the end of the month, there will be 500. The government target is to eventually reach 1,500 Jordanian workers in Eilat.

The Jordanian workers stay for eight hours and then return home to their country at the end of each workday.

Vice President of the Israel Airport Authority, Shlomo Oren, said that the activities carried out at border crossings with Jordan make Israel an ideal land bridge for goods between Arab countries and Europe through Jordan.

He added that further development of the crossings would allow for a significant increase in the quantity of goods to be transported through it.

Kara, for his part, said that the passage is of great importance, as it serves to upgrade relations between Israel and Arab countries. He mentioned the “Jordan Gateway” project, which would include a new bridge between Israel and Jordan as part of a shared industrial zone in the northern Jordan valley. Last month Kara told the Post that talks are under way to open up a new border crossing with Jordan near the Dead Sea in order to ease tourist travel and bring in more Jordanian workers to replace illegal African migrants.

The proposed crossing, Kara had said, would supplement existing crossings in the South in Eilat, in the North near Beit She’an, and the Allenby Bridge crossing, which serves Palestinians and foreigners.

A roundtable discussion on the topics was held at a Dead Sea hotel with the head of the Tamar Regional Council, Dov Litvinoff.

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