Israel will allow small groups of foreign tourists from select countries to visit from September 19 as part of a pilot program to revive tourism, the government said on Sunday.
Tourist groups between 5 and 30 people from countries on Israel’s green, yellow and orange lists will be able to enter the country as long as all group members have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the ministry said. tourism.
Individual tourists, who have not been allowed to visit Israel since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, unless they are visiting family members, will still not be able to enter outside of a tour group.
In May, amid a decline in COVID-19 infections, Israel allowed small groups of tourists. More than 2,000 visitors arrived, mainly from the United States and Europe, fueling hopes of recovery within a tourism sector battered by the pandemic.
Under the new plan, there will be no restrictions on the number of tour groups Israel will let in, the ministry said, but groups from countries on Israel’s red list – which currently includes Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey – will not be eligible.
Foreign tourists must demonstrate that they have received a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine within the past six months or a booster vaccination to qualify for entry.
Tourists will also need to submit a negative PCR test, taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival, and will undergo a serological test once they land at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.
In 2019, a record 4.55 million tourists visited Israel, adding shekels 23 billion ($ 7.2 billion) to the local economy.
The ministry said “no case of corona has been identified among the groups” who joined after restrictions were relaxed in May. He said he hoped individual tourists would be allowed to visit in the near future, “depending on the morbidity rates in Israel and around the world.”
Israel reported nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases on September 4, down from the pandemic high of 11,201 reported two days earlier.
Of Israel’s 9.3 million population, 5.5 million received a second vaccination and another 2.5 million received a third dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Top Image: Tourists walking at Ben Gurion International Airport in this archive photo.
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