State aid worth almost £69 million is being pumped into Israel’s tourism and hotel sector to support Covid-19 recovery.

The package follows the country’s borders remaining closed to foreign arrivals since March to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The budget to assist hotels in the future was agreed as they face a declining dependency on overseas tourism.

Tourists make up 50% of all hotel guests in Israel but foreign arrivals are unlikely to begin again in coming weeks, according to the country’s finance and tourism ministers.

The state aid package agreement follows a meeting between the ministers and representatives of Israel’s tourism industry, where the impact of recent border closures on the hotel sector and the widespread furloughing of hotel employees was discussed.

Tourism minister Asaf Zamir said: “The entire tourism industry is in a severe crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is our job to act swiftly in order to bring it back on track and assist in its recovery.”

London-based Israel Government Tourist Office director Sharon Bershadsky said: “We’re pleased to hear of the continued financial support for the tourism industry in Israel as it recovers from the global pandemic.

“In the UK, we’re working with local government and local tourism bodies so we can safely welcome back British visitors to Israel as soon as possible and are looking forward to their return, especially with hotels and the domestic market beginning to open up again.”