Wed, 05 Aug 2020

BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The second half of 2020 began on Wednesday, as tourism returned with further opening of economies.

International travel has resumed as airports reopened months after strict aviation restrictions were imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19. Close to 300 tourists on board two flights from Ukraine on Wednesday landed in Egypt's Red Sea resort cities of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Upon arrival at Hurghada Airport, the passengers were greeted with flowers, souvenirs, and folk music and dancing.

Egypt reported on Wednesday 1,503 new cases of COVID-19, taking its total tally since mid-February to 69,814, with 3,034 deaths.

Meanwhile, Lebanon's Beirut airport also resumed operation after four months of being closed, with measures taken to detect suspected infections in place.

At Istanbul Airport, Turkey's largest airport, the first COVID-19 test center for international passengers was opened, with test results to be delivered within two hours at a cost of around 16 U.S. dollars.

The Turkish government has been gradually relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, with internet cafes and gaming halls across the country reopening alongside precautionary measures, such as regular regular disinfection, mandatory wearing of masks, and social distancing measures.

On Wednesday, Turkey reported 1,192 new cases and 19 more deaths, taking its total infections and deaths to 201,098 and 5,150, respectively.

In Europe, the first tourist train from the Czech Republic in months arrived in Croatia's coastal city of Rijeka on Wednesday morning. The 550 passengers were greeted by Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Capelli and Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel.

Other European countries in which the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down are also expected to see a rebound in tourism.

In Italy, a government policy intended to revive tourism took effect on Wednesday.

According to a promotional program put in place until the end of this year, low- and medium-income households, couples, and individuals who spend holidays at Italian tourist facilities can benefit from a financial bonus of up to 500 euros (560 U.S. dollars).

In Finland, a large-scale open-air market and dining area located on Helsinki's iconic 3,000-square-meter Senate Square opened to the public on Wednesday, in a move to encourage the catering and tourism industries.

With 480 seats in total, a diverse selection of food and drinks, including breakfast, lunch, fine dining, cocktails and craft beers from local microbreweries, are to be served daily on a "Super Terrace" through the end of August.

After more than three months of closure, cinemas reopened in Belgium ,as it entered Phase 4 of its de-confinement measures on July 1.

Cultural and leisure events in the country have been allowed to resume, with up to 200 people allowed indoors and 400 people outdoors, provided that health and safety rules are followed.

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