Israel decided to reopen to small groups of tourists

Published on : Friday, September 10, 2021

The government said on Sunday that from September 19th, Israel will allow small tour groups from selected foreign countries to visit under a pilot program that would start tourism.

Between 5 and 30 people tour groups from countries on green, yellow and orange lists of Israel will be permitted to enter the country provided all members of the group have been vaccinated completely against Covid-19, the tourism ministry said.

Individual tourists, who were not permitted to visit Israel since the outset of the pandemic in March 2020 unless they are visiting family members, will still not be allowed to enter outside of a tour group.

In May, in the middle of a decline in the infection rate, Israel had permitted in small tour groups. Over 2,000 visitors had arrived, mainly from the United States and Europe. This raised hopes of revival of tourism which got battered by the pandemic.

But the initiative was temporarily stopped in August as the Delta variant started spreading, causing a rise in Covid-19 infections in Israel in spite of a world-leading vaccination rollout.

There will be no restrictions under the new plan in regard to the number of tour groups that Israel will allow, the ministry said, however groups from the red list countries of Israel — which currently includes Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey — will not be eligible.

Tourists from other countries will have to show proof that they have received their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within the last six months or a booster shot in order to qualify for entry.

Also, they will have to present a negative PCR test, which is taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival, and will experience a serological test once they land at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

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