TORONTO — After more than a year without tourism, Israel will start welcoming vaccinated groups of international travellers on May 23.
The country’s phased approach to reopening will be outlined and released next week. The first phase, kicking off on May 23, will comprise a pilot program that allows a select number of tour groups to visit Israel. The number of groups will increase based on the overall health situation and progress of the program.
Individual travellers will be welcomed in a later phase of reopening, likely in July.
In all phases, visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding their flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at Ben Guion Airport. In the meantime, discussions will continue to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, with the goal of eliminating the need for the serological test.
“We have been working to develop a plan that allows not only for the country to reopen to visitors but also to ensure that everyone stays safe,” said Eyal Carlin, Tourism Commission for North America, Israel Ministry of Tourism. “We have come so far and it is for this reason we are adapting this proactive strategy of having a phased opening.
“Sixty percent of Israel’s population has been vaccinated and with the United States and Israel using the same vaccines, we are hopeful that by summer we can open our doors wide and welcome every visitor to Israel who would like to come.”
Gal Hana, Consul for Tourism and Director of Canada, added: “Although it may take a little longer here in Canada, we are confident that Canadians will soon be able to travel to Israel. Vaccinations in Canada are progressing and we are optimistic on the recovery of the Canadian market based on endless inquiries and interest in travel to Israel.
“Canada is one of the most important markets and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”
In February, Israel unveiled its new ‘green pass,’ a vaccine passport that allows people who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to attend public events such as concerts. Last month, the country also launched a pilot program that includes a bracelet monitor designed to notify authorities should users violate their mandatory isolation period.