Saturday,  July 31, 2021  3:11 pm

Israel will allow vaccinated tour groups starting May 23


Israel will allow vaccinated tour groups starting May 23
Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel. (Sander Crombach)
Pax Global Media

A limited number of vaccinated tour groups will be allowed to start visiting Israel on May 23, the country’s Health Ministry and Tourism Ministry said on Tuesday (April 13).

The requirement states that only groups will be allowed to visit at first because they are easier to monitor.  Individual travellers are expected to be allowed later on in July, depending on the local health situation.

There are 3,369 active COVID cases in Israel, and daily infections have fallen to around 200.

“It is time that Israel’s unique advantage as a safe and healthy country starts to assist it in recovering from the economic crisis,” said Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen in a statement. “Only opening the skies for international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, including restaurants, hotels, sites, tour guides, buses and others looking to work and provide for their families.”

All foreign guests will be required to present a negative PCR test before boarding their flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.

“I am happy to share the news that Israel is taking great strides in reopening to international travel this May,” said Eyal Carlin, Tourism Commissioner for North America. “We have been working to develop a plan that allows not only for the country to reopen to visitors, but also to ensure that everyone stays safe." 

"We have come so far, and it is for this reason we are adapting this proactive strategy of having a phased opening. 60 per cent percent of Israel's population has been vaccinated and with the United States and Israel using the same vaccines, we are hopeful that by summer we can open our doors wide and welcome every visitor to Israel who would like to come.” 

The series of phases and guidelines will be outlined and released next week. 

The first phase will feature a pilot program kicking off on May 23, allowing a select number of tour groups to visit Israel. The number of groups will increase based on the overall health situation and success of the program. 

In the meantime, discussions continue to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation with the goal of cancelling the need for a serological test. 


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