Israel is working on opening up tourist exchanges with Greece, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a call on Thursday with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Greece.
“There is enormous demand from the citizens of Israel. We see people on talk shows saying ‘when are we off to Greece?’” Netanyahu said. “We really want to resume flights and tourism connections with countries in a similar situation, and the most evident one is Greece and we are working on it now.
“I hope we can bring it to completion quickly,” he added.
Netanyahu’s remarks come two weeks after the Tourism Ministry began talks with Greece and Cyprus to create a safe zone for tourism between the countries, which have had relative success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus and keeping the number of severe cases low.
Greece is considering allowing tourists from countries considered safe without a coronavirus test, and they will only check temperatures upon entry.
Israel still has a two-week mandatory self-quarantine period for anyone arriving from abroad.
Netanyahu and Mitsotakis also discussed the EastMed gas pipeline project between Israel and Europe, which would involve the construction of a 1,900 km. offshore and onshore pipeline from Israeli economic waters to the Greek mainland via Cyprus and Crete.
In addition, Netanyahu noted Mitsotakis’s father, former Greek prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis, and his historic role in bringing about full diplomatic relations with Israel.
Earlier this week, Channel 12 reported that Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, announced that it is only accepting tourists from Israel, starting in July.
The country went into lockdown on March 20, and only found 11 people infected with the coronavirus from exposure abroad. There have not been any new infections in Seychelles for the past five weeks.
When Seychelles opens to Israeli tourists, they will only be able to go to resorts on isolated islands, and not to the main island of Mahé.