Israel to Reopen to International Tourism May 23

The Israel Ministry of Tourism in tandem with the Ministry of Health has announced that on May 23, 2021, the country will begin welcoming vaccinated groups of international travelers through a phased approach after more than a year without tourism due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The series of phases and guidelines will be outlined and released next week. The first phase will include a pilot program, kicking off on May 23, allowing a select number of tour groups to visit Israel. The number of groups will then increase based on the overall health situation and progress/success of the program. Individual travelers will be welcomed in a later phase of reopening, likely in July (although the Ministry of Tourism says this is still to be determines).

In all phases, visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding their flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport (about 28 miles from Jerusalem and 12 miles from Tel Aviv). In the meantime, discussions will continue to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, with the goal of canceling the need for the serological test.

“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, in a press statement. “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.”

According to The New York Times, 60 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 56 percent are fully vaccinated. Those numbers are the third-most and most, respectively, for any country.


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