Israel, Greece sign tourism deal to boost economies

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli and Greek officials agreed Monday to clear the way for vaccinated tourists to travel between their Mediterranean nations in a bid to boost their economies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the agreement in Jerusalem on Monday. The deal is designed to allow tourists with vaccination certificates to move between the countries “without any limitations, no self-isolation, nothing,” Netanyahu said at a press conference.

Both economies have large sectors devoted to tourism, an industry devastated by travel restrictions during the 11-month pandemic.

The announcement comes at a time of tough new travel restrictions elsewhere around the world as governments grapple with variants of the virus.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization says international arrivals fell 74% last year, wiping out $1.3 trillion in revenue and putting up to 120 million jobs at risk. A UNWTO expert panel had a mixed outlook for 2021, with 45% expecting a better year, 25% no change and 30% a worse one.

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