Published on : Monday, May 24, 2021
Israel reopened its borders to foreign tourists on Sunday after COVID-19 cases went down. It said that it would take time some time for visitors to start arriving and to revitalize the tourism industry.
Following an easing of corona virus restrictions, Israel went ahead with a plan to allow small groups of tourists from countries using vaccines that have been approved.
Foreign airlines are also resuming flights they had suspended when Palestinian militants began rocket attacks on Israel this month. A ceasefire has now stopped the fighting.
“It is unlikely that the first groups will arrive before the beginning of June,” an Israel Tourism Ministry spokeswoman said.
In 2019, tourism hit a record high of 4.55 million visitors, contributing 23 billion shekels ($7.1 billion) to Israel’s economy, mainly via small and mid-sized businesses.
Israel Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said that the ministry is working to allow more tourists to enter to “rehabilitate the tourism industry and bring hundreds of thousands of people back into the workforce”.
Israeli authorities are of the opinion that initially limiting tourism to small groups would work best to monitor and check the spread of COVID-19, especially new variants. Visitors will have to produce negative PCR tests before flying and to undergo further tests upon arrival.
Israel has fully vaccinated about 55% of its population with COVID-19 cases going down drastically.