The Israel Ministry of Tourism has announced that it will open its borders to international travelers starting 23 May, provided they have been vaccinated. The country–which has been closed to tourism for over one year since the start of the pandemic–will open to travelers under a phased approach.
Eyal Carlin, Tourism Commissioner for North America announced the news today, saying, “We have come so far, and it is for this reason we are adapting this proactive strategy of having a phased opening. 60% percent of Israel’s population has been vaccinated and with the U.S. and Israel using the same vaccines, we are hopeful that by summer we can open our doors wide and welcome every visitor to Israel who would like to come.”
Whilst the details will be announced next week, the following information is clear:
- a pilot is set to begin on 23 May to let in tour groups, at first. Haaretz reported that the policy would start with groups as they were easier to monitor.
- individual travelers will be welcomed in a later phase–at the moment, it is believed this would likely be in July, but this is to be determined.
- visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding their flight to Israel.
- and upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport, travelers will have to undergo a serological test to prove their vaccination.
In the meantime, if countries can agree on how to validate vaccine-certification, hopefully there would eventually not be a need for a serological test upon arrival.
Israeli Minister of Tourism, Orit Farkash-Hacohen said Tuesday that “only opening the skies for international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, including restaurants, hotels, sites, tour guides and others looking to work and provide for their families.”