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Tourism Ministry reveals plan for vaccinated incoming tourists

CM 27/04/2021

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As part of Israel’s efforts to bring the economy back to normalcy as the coronavirus pandemic seems to wind down, the Tourism Ministry unveiled its plan to restore inbound tourism Tuesday.
Tourism from overseas dropped by 81% in 2020, and although a third of Israeli hotels remain closed at this point, hundreds of thousands of Israelis depend on visitors from abroad for their livelihoods, Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen noted.
According to the Tourism Ministry’s current timeline, which is subject to change, a limited number of foreign tour groups will be allowed to enter the country starting May 23, Farkash-Hacohen said. That will make it easy for relevant parties to track and monitor the groups and possibly update their protocols. Then, an unlimited number of tour groups will be allowed into the country starting June 1 – and if all goes well, individual travelers will be allowed to visit starting July 1. All visitors will be required to have received two doses of a recognized coronavirus vaccine (which excludes the Russian Sputnik vaccine), as well as waiting another week until the antibodies are fully developed in the body, she said. A PCR test will also be required to enter. A certificate of recovery from the coronavirus will not be sufficient to enter, which effectively means that children under 16 will not be allowed to enter the country at this point, she added.
The timeline will likely be updated as things evolve, and is already subject to dispute. The Health Ministry said Tuesday it recommends that the inbound tourism plan be pushed back by a month due to the new variants recently discovered.

To get travel rebooted, the Tourism Ministry is launching a large promotional campaign in three large markets, in order to attract tourists. The campaign in Dubai, scheduled to launch Wednesday, includes a placement on one of the largest digital billboards in the world, a 175-meter screen seen by 750,000 drivers a day, Farkash-Hacohen said. In New York and London, a somewhat simpler billboard campaign will encourage travelers to put the past year behind them with the slogan “2020 – Holy Moses. 2021 – Holy Land.” The overall goal is to promote Israel as a healthy destination for vaccinated tourists, she said.
The Tourism Ministry will also resume subsidized flights to Eilat, Farkash-Hacohen said. In past years, the ministry has paid foreign air carriers 60 euro per passenger for flights to Eilat, a tactic which cost about NIS 25 million but brings in hundreds of millions of shekels in economic activity, she explained. That program helped increase weekly flights to the southern tourism city by about threefold, and will be resumed in the coming weeks.
A number of international tourism events are planned for the summer to help raise interest, the tourism minister noted. These include a joint Israel-UAE biking race known as the Abraham Accords Cup, an international music festival in Timna Park in the Negev region, and Tel Aviv Pride Week events. While Pride event activities will not be as large as in previous years, Tel Aviv will be one of the few cities around the world hosting such events in 2021, she said. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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