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Tel Aviv prepares for return of int’l travel, calls on tourists to return

CM 06/05/2021

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The Tel Aviv Municipality has announced that it is ready to reopen the city to vaccinated tourists beginning May 23.Israel is preparing for the return of international tourism following a year-long hiatus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with skies set to open up to foreign tourists in late May.”Dear tourists, we have missed you! Incoming tourism is an integral part of the identity of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and I am excited to host you again soon,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said. “Beyond offering an outstanding urban, cultural and culinary experience, as a vaccinated city we understand the extent of our responsibility at this time. Your safety and health is a top priority for the city’s entire tourism industry. “Alongside international-standard service and hospitality, we will do everything to ensure that you have fun and return home safely.”Following the government’s decision to reopen its borders, Tel Aviv has launched a light-hearted video campaign showing the city’s final preparations for the return of foreign visitors, including a lifeguard balancing the salinity of the sea with table salt, a hotel maid perfecting her pillow chocolate placement, an Israeli polishing up on his English with his German Shepherd, a bartender trimming down her cocktail times in front of an empty bar and even an art museum guard refining his ‘shush’ technique by his lonesome. “It’s been a long year, but we’ve kept in shape!” the voice-over said in the video. “Now that Tel Aviv is vaccinated, all we have left is to practice for the real thing.”

“Tel Aviv, we’re getting there. Are you?” the tagline read.For residents and those visiting, the municipality also launched a Instagram filter that encourages foreign tourists to plan their next holiday in the city – highlighting all Tel Aviv has to offer, from the beaches, to the sites, to the food and back to the atmosphere.As the Health Ministry has relaxed coronavirus regulations on the Israeli public in the past month – lifting restrictions on outdoor mask wear, bars, beaches, restaurants and cultural events – Tel Aviv has begun returning to its normal self as of late, with residents flocking back to the places the once enjoyed and loved – bringing a spark back to the White City that hasn’t been seen in over a year.”Tel Aviv-Yafo, the Nonstop City, is back in business. Thanks to our world-leading vaccination campaign, we are ready to welcome back international visitors to our city,” said CEO of Tel Aviv Global & Tourism Sharon Landes-Fischer. “As we bid farewell to COVID-19, we say ‘shalom’ and welcome to the return of the world’s languages to our streets. “See you soon in Tel Aviv-Yafo.”Aside from the excitement for the return of international tourism, the municpality made clear that they are well-aware that “visitor confidence regarding health and safety will be their highest priority while abroad.”As of Thursday, 5,069,389 Israelis have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine – around 78% of the total population 16 years and older (6,538,911). In Tel Aviv, that number hangs at around 80% of the city’s population.World Health Organization (WHO) experts have pointed to a 65%-70% vaccine coverage rate as a way to reach population immunity through vaccination.Additionally, entrance into hotels, restaurants and other crowded attractions are completely dependent on proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, using Israel’s Green Passport program – meaning those who are unvaccinated will not be allowed within the vicinity.Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel experienced a record year for incoming tourism in 2019, with approximately 4.55 million foreign tourists visiting the Jewish State that year – an 11% jump from 2018, injecting around NIS 23 billion into the economy. It is estimated that around 74% of those visitors visited Tel Aviv, the municipality said citing the Tourism Ministry.”Refusing to stand still and wait for tourists to return, the city has taken advantage of the past year to accelerate investment in and upgrades to its tourism infrastructure and experience,” the municiplaty explained. “Despite limits on travel, new hotels have opened across the city – closing the gap between supply and tourist demand.”In addition to the return of visitors from traditional tourism markets, the city is greatly looking forward to hosting groups and individual tourists arriving for the first time from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.”As aforementioned, Israel is set to reopen its borders to tourists on May 23, but to allow in only vaccinated or recovered people.At the moment, the only country whose health documents the government recognizes is Bahrain, but several government officials have told The Jerusalem Post that in the next few weeks more agreements are expected to follow suit.Visitors coming from countries whose vaccination or recovery certificates are not recognized will be required to undertake a serological test to prove the presence of antibodies in their blood after arriving in Israel, in addition to two PCR tests: one before boarding the plane and one after landing. Rosella Tercatin and Eytan Halon contributed to this article.Source: Jerusalem Post

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