Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen (pictured) held a press conference on Tuesday to present the government’s strategy for getting foreign tourists back in the country as soon as possible.
Tourism is a major component of the Israeli economy, but the coronavirus pandemic meant that 81 percent fewer tourists entered Israel in 2020.
On May 23rd, Israel hopes to start turning that situation around. Farkash-Hacohen reiterated that on that date, Israel will begin permitting entry to a limited number of foreign tour groups. It’s kind of a trial run for Israeli authorities to gauge their ability to keep tabs on the foreigners in case there are signs of another COVID outbreak.
If all goes well, an unlimited number of tour groups will be able to enter from June 1, and a month later, on July 1, Israel will begin admitting individual travelers.
Needless to say, Israel will only grant entry to travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present negative results of a recent Corona test.
One hiccup is that since children under the age of 16 are still not being vaccinated, Israel will not be admitting them at this point. So no family trips to Israel, yet.
As is typical in the Israeli government, one ministry’s plans are immediately assailed by another. The Ministry of Tourism’s optimistic plans are already being panned by the Ministry of Health, which insists that new Corona variants make the timeline presented by Farkash-Hacohen risky, at best.