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Vaccinated Tourist Groups Can Begin Visiting Israel Again on May 23

Western Wall Plaza, Photo, CBN News Jonathan Goff

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel will begin allowing a limited number of vaccinated tourists to enter the country beginning on May 23, the Health Ministry and Tourism Ministry announced in a joint statement.

The announcement comes more than a year after Israel closed its borders to foreigners to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The lift of restrictions only applies to tourists who come in groups. Individual travelers will be allowed to enter at a later stage. All tourists and pilgrims who enter the country must present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight to Israel. Once they land they must take another PCR test in addition to a serological test to prove they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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“After opening the economy, it is time to allow tourism in a careful and calculated manner,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on Israel’s economy – especially its tourism industry. Israel saw an 80% drop in tourism in 2020, according to government figures released in January.

“It is time that Israel’s unique advantage as a safe and healthy country starts to assist it in recovering from the economic crisis,” said Tourism Minister Farkash-Hacohen. “Only opening the skies for international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, including restaurants, hotels, sites, tour guides, buses and others looking to work and provide for their families.”

The statement said Israel will continue to negotiate with countries over mutual recognition of vaccination certificates to eventually remove the need for serological tests for incoming travelers.

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