Israel’s Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen announced that Israel plans to welcome vaccinated tourists beginning from May end, and has launched a program to rehabilitate and grow the country’s tourism industry, which was badly hit by the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

“Israel today is a world leader in safety and health, and we will make sure every potential tourist knows this when planning their summer or winter vacation. We cannot miss this opportunity – and, as minister of tourism, we won’t,” said Farkash-Hacohen.

The approach includes an international advertising campaign to encourage visitors to travel to Israel. The main focus will be on visitors from New York and London, as well as the United Arab Emirates, with which Israel signed a historic normalization agreement in September 2020.

The first billboard will be put up in Dubai, both in English and Arabic, a historical step for both nations as it is the first time an Israeli campaign is being launched in the United Arab Emirates. Ads will be aired in New York’s iconic Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus, with different designs but with a common message: Book your flight to Israel.

Farkash-Hacohen said, “Dubai has great tourism potential for Israel. The UK and the US have always been large markets for inbound tourism to Israel. I have no doubt, we will see many tourists from all three countries within a short period of time.”

The Minister also disclosed additional steps taken by the Ministry of Tourism in preparation for the recommencement of tourism in 2021. A number of large international events are being created by the Ministry of Tourism, each geared at keeping Israel in the hearts and minds of strategic groups of tourists. The annual Tel Aviv Pride Parade will probably be the only in person event that will be held this year; a special Abraham Cycling Cup tour, in collaboration with renowned philanthropist Sylvan Adams, which will see Israel and the UAE co-host the annual Tour of Dubai race, and an international music festival in the stunning views of the Timna Park are a few of the events that will be promoted.

In an effort to further promote tourism, Farkash-Hacohen announced the ministry would restore a directive incentivising foreign airlines to operate flights to the Ramon Airport located outside of Eilat. This incentive, which was in place before the COVID outbreak, is now being budgeted at a cap of NIS 25 Million, enabling foreign airlines to receive financial incentives for every tourist they bring to Israel. 

The Minister explained Israel would first start by opening its doors to a limited number of vaccinated groups at the end of May, before eventually allowing an unlimited number of groups to enter a month later. Israel hopes to open to independent vaccinated travellers in the month of July, without the need to be part of an organised group visit.

“I know there is some criticism, and I can even agree with some of it,” Farkash-Hacohen said, stressing the plan wasn’t perfect but it was needed to ensure Israel maintained its position as a healthy country and not risk its citizens.  “We are gradually reopening tourism to Israel, to ensure we protect the health and wellbeing of all Israelis, while enabling those in the tourism sector to return to work and rebuild – and welcoming back the many people yearning to return.”


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