Israel to begin pilot scheme to bring back tourists

Tourists in Jerusalem  credit: Tamar Matsafi

A limited number of groups of vaccinated people will be allowed to enter Israel from next week.

A pilot scheme for allowing tourists into Israel is due to go into operation next week. Since March 2020, Israel has shut its gates to tourism, but in the light of encouraging coronavirus morbidity statistics, it has been decided to open up a little through a pilot scheme whereby only groups of tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to enter the country. According to figures supplied by Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen, within nine minutes of registration for the pilot scheme being opened through notifications to incoming tourism organizers, the quota was filled, and registration was closed.

Registration was allowed for twenty groups, on a first come first served basis. Twenty additional groups were registered on a standby list. Each group will comprise thirty participants with foreign citizenship. The groups will be allowed to come to Israel between May 23 and June 6, and each tourism company can bring in one group. The tourism organizers report growing pressure to come to Israel, mainly among religious tourists from the US, Germany and the UK.

Commenting on the security situation, which casts a shadow over Israel's tourism potential, Farkash-Hacohen said, "These complicated times from a security point of view are having an adverse effect on the recently begun recovery of the tourism industry from the coronavirus crisis. Nevertheless, this is not a situation that will continue for long.

"I took action to ensure that the pilot scheme would not be deferred, because its importance lies in its very existence. The ministry's staff has at the same time been working on preparations for the next, more extensive stage of letting tourists into Israel. I see great importance in bringing the tourists back, to rehabilitate the industry and restore livelihoods to hundreds of thousands of workers."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 20, 2021

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

Tourists in Jerusalem  credit: Tamar Matsafi
Tourists in Jerusalem credit: Tamar Matsafi
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