The Israeli tourism in Israel will be open for business by late May.
“We are starting the first pilot on the 23rd of May,” Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said. “It will take place for a few weeks, by which we will bring in no more than 20 or more groups of tourists, fully vaccinated, with travel agents so that you can be monitored on one hand and we can also learn from the lessons and improve the rule.”
If this pilot goes well, about a month later an unlimited number of groups will be allowed in. By July, it’s possible Israel will open its doors to individuals. Israel’s reopening comes after its aggressive vaccination campaign in which most of the population has been vaccinated and COVID rates have dropped dramatically. They want to protect their success.
“Israel is now fully open — the attractions, the restaurants, the hotels,” he said. “Our numbers of COVID-19 are getting fewer and fewer every day. We’re waiting for you to come.”
The current plan requires tourists to be fully vaccinated. They must have a negative COVID test before boarding the flight and then take a serology test on arrival. Nearly half of all tourists who come to Israel are Christian. For millions of Christians around the world, visiting Israel is like a dream.
“I want to say to Christians around the world that Israel is missing you and is looking forward to you coming and seeing all the sacred places and the history,” Farkash-Hacohen said.
Yet some American Christians are reluctant to get vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have very optimistic messages for them,” Farkash-Hacohen said. “Israel is now in a very, very good condition health-wise. It’s a very healthy destination and we cannot put that in danger.”
There has been discussion of Israel allowing individuals in who have not been vaccinated but no decision has been made.
While it’s a small start, Israel hopes to welcome millions of visitors to the Holy Land again.