Cyprus' government was asked by the Cyprus Hotel Association - Pasyxe - to reach an agreement with Israel to ease travel between the two countries on the eve of the Passover holidays that will start on March 27 and ends on April 4 this year, the Cyprus Mail reported.
“We are asking for the deal to come into force earlier, ideally at the beginning of March, so hoteliers can prepare the reopening of their businesses two weeks before the arrival of tourists from Israel,” the director-general of the Hoteliers Association Philokypros Roussounides told the Cyprus Mail, explaining that the actual spike in interest from the Israeli market was mainly for the end of March.
According to the Cyprus Mail, this agreement will allow vaccinated people to travel between the two countries without the need for quarantine or prior PCR tests - with a vaccine approved by the European Medicine Association (EMA).
Roussounides added, “That’s why it would be best to anticipate the start of the deal to the beginning of March. That way, we would have two weeks to get ready and be prepared for a potential increase in the number of visitors.”
In order be extra-careful, Cyprus could test all arrivals from Israel at the airports so as to be 100% sure that the country remains safe, Roussounides added.
With 300,000 arrivals on the island, Israel represented the third biggest tourism market in 2019, behind the UK and Russia, for which Roussouides also urged the government to reach a deal, similar to the one struck with Israel.
Cyprus has joined Greece in allowing Israelis with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to enter the country without a mandatory quarantine period.
Last week, an agreement was signed during the visit of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to Jerusalem.
The agreement for Cyprus to recognize Israel’s vaccination certificate and vice versa is expected to go into effect “right in the next few weeks, but it will open not far away,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following his meeting with Anastasiades.
“Cypriot tourists in Israel. Israeli tourists in Cyprus,” he said.
Netanyahu and Anastasiades also discussed cooperation on medical issues, which the prime minister said have “developed over the years. But the joint battle against the coronavirus pandemic breathed new air into this important cooperation.”
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi hailed the agreement between Israel and Cyprus to open their borders to people vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I want to praise the government of Cyprus and thank its president for recognizing our vaccination certificates, which will allow an increase in the number of vaccinated tourists from Israel [in Cyprus] within a number of weeks,” he said in his meeting with Christodoulides.