The administration said on Sunday that starting September 19, small international tour groups from designated countries would be allowed to come as part of a trial initiative to boost tourism.
The tourism ministry announced that tour groups of 5 to 30 individuals from countries on Israel’s green, yellow, and orange lists will be permitted to enter the country as long as all members have had full Covid-19 vaccinations.
Individual tourists, who have been barred from visiting Israel since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March 2020 unless they are visiting family members, will continue be denied entry unless they are part of a tour group.
Israel has let small tour groups into the country in May, citing a decrease in Covid-19 infections. More than 2,000 people, mostly from the United States and Europe, arrived, increasing expectations for a revival in the tourism business, which had been hit hard by the pandemic.
Despite a world-leading vaccine deployment, the campaign was stopped in August as the Delta strain spread, resulting in a rise in Covid-19 infections in Israel.
The number of tour groups allowed into Israel will not be limited under the new plan, according to the ministry, but groups from countries on Israel’s red list, which presently includes Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey, will not be eligible.
To gain admission, foreign visitors must provide documentation of receiving a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccination or a booster injection within the past six months.
Tourists will also be required to submit a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before to arrival, as well as a serological test after they arrive at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
4.55 million visitors visited Israel in 2019, bringing in 23 billion shekels ($7.2 billion) to the local economy.
“Not one corona case was discovered among the groups” who entered after the limits were relaxed in May, according to the government. Individual visitors may be permitted to come in the near future, according to the report, “depending on morbidity rates in Israel and throughout the world.”
On September 4, Israel reported roughly 5,000 new cases of the coronavirus, down from a pandemic high of 11,201 two days prior.
Out of Israel’s 9.3 million residents, 5.5 million have gotten a second dosage of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and another 2.5 million have received a third dose.