The long awaited Israel Reopening Pilot Program has finally begun. As many of you are aware, Israel has continuously been relaxing its COVID-19 restrictions with its economy now being very close to a complete opening. The number of new COVID infections daily has dropped to below 20 as of today’s date.
At the same time, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism has been working with the Ministry of Health on a layout plan for the return of Tourist Groups and Individuals to visit Israel. A pilot of this layout plan started in the latter part of May 2021.
The Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, of which Immanuel Tours is a part of, is working hard with both ministries to change the Israel reopening pilot program layout plan and make it easier to conform with and minimize the requirements set. We believe this will become successful in the coming weeks as a new government is expected to be formed in the coming days.
As the number of new Covid 19 cases continues to decrease in the United States and much of Europe and other countries globally, we believe the conditions for international travel will continue to be relaxed and in the same way, the Israel reopening plan.
We encourage you to be patient and follow the updates we will be sending out as soon as these are made available through official channels in Israel.
While some of you are waiting to hear whether a Covid 19 vaccine certification will be a requirement for visiting Israel in 2021, the answer to that, is yes. For the foreseeable future and at least until the end of this year, a person visiting Israel will be required to be either vaccinated or having recovered from Covid 19 and having antibodies.
The following are some of the highlights of the Layout Plan as it stands today, June 3rd, 2021:
- An Israeli Tour Operator will have to submit each group for an entry approval to the ministries of health and tourism (short process that will require information about the group – will be published by us at a later date).
- A negative PCR test from up to 72 hours before travel to Israel (same as requirement by Airlines) and registration on the Israeli ministry of Health prior to arrival in Israel.
- PCR test on Arrival in Israel (at the expense of the individual – costs to be published by us at a later date)
- A serology test upon arrival at hotel and quarantine until Positive test result (at the expense of the participant) – This is being highly contested by the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association and we expect to be removed from the list of conditions.
- Separate check in at hotels.
- Fully vaccinated tour guide and bus driver
- Separate seating at restaurants
- Pre booked visits at sites, shops and venues as part of the tour itinerary to avoid crowding.
- Daily cleaning and sanitizing of the bus.
- Following the Covid 19 restrictions in Israel at the time of the visit (social distancing , masks, number allowed for gathering etc.)
- Medical insurance for the duration of the visit in Israel for each participant (Covid 19 coverage)
- PCR test (at the expense of participant) 72 hours prior to return flight.
The above related to groups from the United States, Europe and countries with which Israel has bilateral agreements for the recognition of vaccines. (currently FDA or EMA approved).
While we fully understand the need to put measures in place to continue the accomplishments in fighting the COVID 19 virus and keeping both Israelis and visitors safe and virus free, we find that it will be near impossible to operate at near full capacity with too many restrictions and hope to see significant changes made in the coming weeks.
At Immanuel Tours, we are following the discussions daily to be able to bring you the most accurate and up to date information. Our staff are all fully vaccinated and we have completed the “Safe Travel – Israel Protocol” training, being an approved member.
We have several groups booked for arrival from mid-September throughout the end of the year and onwards and encourage you to follow our updates and contact us for more information HERE.
Thank you and God bless.