Israel to Reopen to Fully Vaccinated Tourists Starting May 23

israel reopening

Great news: Israel is reopening to tourists. Today, Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein announced that starting May 23, Israel will allow fully vaccinated tourists to enter and visit the country.

On the heels of an overwhelmingly successful vaccination rollout, Israel is ready to welcome tourists who have been fully vaccinated from COVID-19 for the start of the summer season.

Details on the Israel Reopening Plan

How will it work? Limited numbers of fully vaccinated tourists will be allowed to enter Israel in groups. Once the borders have reopened to vaccinated travelers, it will mark the first time in over a year that Israel has permitted entry to non-citizens.

Although travelers will be completely vaccinated, Israeli authorities will require all arriving passengers to present a negative PCR test for COVID-19 before flying, as well as an antibody test to prove they've been vaccinated (or recovered from COVID-19). Arriving tourists also must submit to a serological test to prove vaccination status at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV).

However, the country is also exploring options to establish a traveler vaccine certification, which would remove the need for a passenger to take a serological test on arrival. Complete details of the program — including precisely who will be allowed entry and on what scale — will be announced by Israel's government in the coming days.

Initially, it's believed that as borders re-open on May 23 only travelers in groups will be granted entry; if infection rates don't rise and no other changes are detected, the Tourism Minister indicated that individual travelers will then also be allowed to enter.

“It is time Israel’s unique advantage as a safe and healthy country starts to assist it in recovering from the economic crisis,” Farkash-Hacohen said. “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.”

According to Reuters, Israel has administered at least 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far — inoculating about 56.8% of the population. During the first weeks of April, the country averaged around 21,490 daily doses.

Infection rates within the country have also dropped, reporting just 17 infections per 100,000 people in the past seven days. Since the start of the pandemic, Israel has recorded 836,072 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 6,300 deaths.

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