Israel set to reopen to vaccinated tourists

by Laura Nasole

This week, Israel announced that it is ready to reopen its borders to foreign tourists from 23rd May, providing they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Israel opens up

Last month saw the decision by Iceland to allow vaccinated travellers to enter the country. Now, Israel has become the latest country to follow suit, also choosing to open its borders to those fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The Israeli Health Ministry stated that Israel will open up to foreign tourists who have received both doses of the Coronavirus vaccine from 23rd May.

Israel at sunset

[Israel will open its borders to foreign, fully vaccinated tourists after a year of travel restrictions] | © ]iExplore]

Those who wish to visit Israel will be required to undergo a PCR test. Furthermore, upon arrival, passengers will be required to take a serological test before leaving Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) to verify their vaccination status. A serological test is a blood test that is able to detect whether a person has antibodies when a person is responding to a particular infection, such as Covid-19.

Groups only

Whilst Israel’s decision to open to vaccinated tourists is positive, there are some additional conditions that travellers must follow. Primarily, passengers will initially only be allowed to enter if they are part of an organised group, and limits will be placed on the number of travellers allowed in per day. Plans are in place to eventually increase these numbers and allow lone tourists to travel, but this is all dependent on the country’s Coronavirus situation as time goes on.

Passengers with luggage in groups in Ben Gurion Airport

[Travellers must only travel in groups and will be required to undergo testing upon arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport] | © ]booking.com]

This will be the first time since March last year, when the country initially imposed travel bans in light of the pandemic, that Israel will allow non-residents to enter the country. Speaking on the matter, Israel Health Minister Yuli Edelstein stated:

“Israel is the first vaccinated state, and the citizens of Israel are the first to enjoy it. After we have opened up the economy, it is time to carefully and thoughtfully facilitate tourism.

“The opening of tourism is an important line for one of the industries that were particularly damaged in the year of coronavirus. We will continue to examine the relief at all times in accordance with the morbidity data.” 

Vaccination success

The decision to allow foreign, vaccinated tourists to enter comes after rates of Coronavirus in Israel continue to fall, largely thanks to the success of its excellent, pioneering vaccination programme. Up to now, Israel has managed to administer 62% of its population with at least one dose of the vaccination. Shops and schools are set to open and people will no longer be required to wear masks outside starting from next week.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

[Israel has excelled in its vaccination programme, vaccinating 62% of its population] | © [Getty Images]

 In the same way that Turkey plans to open its borders to UK tourists due to the UK vaccination programme’s success, Israel could also benefit from its excellent response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Again, as a result of the success of Israel’s vaccination rollout, it is thought that Israel may be added to the UK’s green list that is set to be announced in May. Countries on the green list will not require people to self-isolates upon their return home. In order to be placed on the green list, a country must have a competent vaccination programme that has already given the vaccine to a larger majority of its population and evidence for declining rates of Covid-19, both of which Israel has thus far achieved. If this is the case, it could make Israel’s sea resorts a very popular destination for British tourists and more.

What do you think of Israel’s decision to open up to vaccinated tourists? Will you be planning a trip there? Share your thoughts with us below!

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