Israel: With COVID Retreating, Israel Reopens Borders to Small Groups of Tourists
Israel: With COVID Retreating, Israel Reopens Borders to Small Groups of Tourists

Israel reopened its borders to foreign tourists on Sunday after having observed a decline in COVID-19 infections, but it would take time for visitors to start arriving and to revive the tourism industry. Under an easing of covid-10 restrictions, the government went ahead with a plan to start letting in small groups of tourists from countries using vaccines it has approved.

Foreign airlines are also restarting flights they suspended when Palestinian militants began rocket attacks on Israel this month. A ceasefire has now halted the fighting, helping the government meet Sunday’s target date for starting the plan.

Tourism in 2019 hit a record high of 4.55 million visitors, contributing USD 7.1 billion to Israel’s economy, mainly via small and mid-sized businesses.

Under a pilot programme due to continue until June 15, Israel gave the green light to visits by 20 groups of between 5 and 30 tourists from countries including the United States, Britain and Germany. Another 20 groups were chosen to be on standby if any of the first 20 tour operators did not meet Israel’s conditions.

Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said the ministry was working to allow more tourists to enter to “rehabilitate the tourism industry and bring hundreds of thousands of people back into the workforce”.

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