Israel will begin reopening its doors to vaccinated groups of foreign tourists through a phased approach from May 23, 2021, more than a year since shutting its borders to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Tourism minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen and health minister Yuli Edelstein agreed on a framework for the phased reopening of Israel, based on advice from the Covid-19 task force set up by the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Health.
In the first stage, a limited number of groups will be allowed to enter Israel, under a pilot programme adhering to guidelines to be published by the ministries. The number will be increased based on the health situation and progress of the programme. Individual travellers will be allowed into Israel in the second stage, with health considerations determining the timeline.
All visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding the flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport. In the meantime, discussions will continue with various countries to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, so as to do away with the need for the serological test.
“Israel is the first vaccinated country, and the citizens of Israel are the first to enjoy this result. After opening the economy, it is time to allow tourism in a careful and calculated manner… We will continue to look at easing regulations in accordance to the health situation,” Edelstein said.
Farkash-Hacohen added: “Only opening the skies for international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, including restaurants, hotels, (tourist) sites, tour guides, buses and others looking to work and provide for their families. I will continue to work for the full opening of tourism to Israel, which will greatly assist the Israeli economy and create (work) for many Israelis.”