Report: Israel Plans to Allow Tourists In From Next Month

YERUSHALAYIM -
Travelers seen in the arrival hall at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The government is considering a plan to reopen the country to foreign tourists starting next month, after a year and a half of a near-total ban on tourists entering the country, Israel Hayom reported.

The Coronavirus Cabinet deliberated Sunday evening on plans drawn up by the Health Ministry that would allow tourists to enter the country, even if they arrive individually and not as part of organized tour groups.

Last month, the government relaunched a pilot program allowing tourists in organized tour groups of between five to 30 to enter the country. The pilot program had originally been launched in May, but was halted in August, following a spike in infection rates.

Under the plan being considered by the Coronavirus Cabinet, all tourists entering the country will be required to be vaccinated – a condition also imposed currently on members of tour groups.

The current proposal would reopen Israel to all vaccinated tourists starting Nov. 1.

Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid) is leading the effort to reopen the country to tourism, Israel Hayom reported.

The Foreign Ministry is currently working with authorities abroad to establish mutual recognition for vaccinated travelers, enabling Israelis to travel abroad and to prepare for the arrival to Israel of tourists from overseas.

Meanwhile, there is no country that is out of bounds for Israelis wishing to travel abroad. The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee convened Monday morning to discuss new regulations proposed by the Coronavirus Cabinet. The committee approved the removal of travel bans to Brazil, Bulgaria, and Turkey, essentially clearing the government’s no-fly list.

However, travel warnings remain for several destinations with high morbidity.

“There are some countries in Europe with a rising infection rate, mainly Romania and Serbia,” senior Health Ministry official Ilana Gans said. “A travel warning has been issued for these, but as of now, Israelis can fly to any country in the world.”

At the meeting, Dr. Sharon Elroi Preiss, the ministry’s director of public health services, called for an extension of the ‘green pass’ vaccination certificates for children as according to data, “they are 50% less likely to get reinfected” with the coronavirus.

Dr. Elroi Preiss also said that while recovered patients can receive a vaccine as early as three months after recovery, the government should not “push” them to do so.