Israel to Start Reopening to Tourism, Beginning in May

Israel will begin admitting vaccinated tourists into the country at the end of May and has announced the launch of a global campaign to encourage as many people as possible to visit this year, Israeli Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said.

Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv, she said “Israel today is a world leader in safety and health, and we will make sure every potential tourist knows this when planning their summer or winter vacation.”

Israel will allow in a limited number of vaccinated groups next month before allowing an unlimited number of groups to enter come June, she said, adding that the plan was for skies to fully open to individual vaccinated travelers in July.

“I know there is some criticism, and I can even agree with some of it,” acknowledged Farkash-Hacohen, adding that a gradual reopening was necessary in order to not put Israel’s citizens at risk.

To encourage international visitors, the ministry will be putting up digital billboards in Dubai, New York City’s Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus. The first to launch, in Dubai, in both English and Arabic, will be the first-ever Israeli government campaign in the United Arab Emirates, according to the ministry.

“Dubai has great tourism potential for Israel,” said Farkash-Hacohen. “I have no doubt we will see many tourists from all three countries within a short period.”

The ministry will also be promoting a number of large, international events, including the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, which will be held live this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic; a special Abraham Cycling Cup tour in partnership with philanthropist Sylvan Adams, which will see Israel and the UAE co-host the annual Tour of Dubai bike race; and an international music festival in Timna Park in the Negev Desert, north of the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

The ministry will also reinstate a directive incentivizing foreign airlines to operate flights to the Ramon International Airport outside of Eilat.

Said Farkash-Hacohen: “Ensuring inbound tourism to Eilat is my obligation to the city’s residents, but this is also a clear statement to the entire tourism industry: We are preparing for the resumption of tourism on a large scale as soon as possible.”

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