Israeli Tourism Minister: Hopeful Tourists Return Soon
“With mass vaccination drive, hotels and the hospitality industry reopening, we are awaiting visitors”
The Voice of Chandigarh News| Travel Trade Reporter
Farkash-Hacohen spoke at the ITB Berlin online conference, alongside Minister Gustavo Segura Sancho of Costa Rica and Raki Phillips, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority in the UAE. For the better part of an hour, the three discussed the impact COVID-19 had on the international tourism industry, as well as the prospects for its reopening.
“The tourism sector was shut down, it took it big blow,”Minister Farkash-Hacohensummarized how the pandemic has affected Israeli tourism since March 2020. The Minister shared how the Ministry worked to uphold and help the various components in the industry open, including distributing millions of Shekels (NIS) of compensation to hotels, offering subsidized/ free tours for the public to support tour guides, and more.“None of this of course is full compensation, but it helped during this difficult year, “she said.“Now we are hopeful tourists can soon return, allowing the various tourism-oriented businesses to get back on their feet.”
The need to open the skies was agreed upon by the other participants too.“We need to find ways to open up travel,”Raki Phillips, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said, explaining why vaccinations were key to the reopening of the international tourism industry. “Also, from a safety and security perspective. Travel has to be enjoyable.”
At the same time,Minister Sancho of Costa Rica said vaccinations are important, but that protocols regarding the health and well-being of employees and vacationers were just as vital.”We need to continue the important steps taken, and not forget them because of vaccinations,” he said.
“As Minister of Tourism, I would like to see more people entering with vaccinations or negative PCR tests so we have more tourists, but it is a gradual process,”Farkash-Hacohenconcluded.“At the policy level, we need to balance opening the skies with protecting the public’s health.”