Israel will welcome back small tour groups this month

Sep 9, 2021

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Israel will once again welcome small tour groups from select countries this month, according to Reuters.

Groups of between five and 30 people who can prove they are fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit starting Sept. 19, according to the tourism ministry. Travelers must be from countries on Israel’s green, yellow and orange travel lists. At this time, neither visitors from countries on the red list, which includes Mexico, nor individual travelers can participate.

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Because individual tourists are still unable to visit Israel, being part of a tour group is the only way to visit the country at the moment. Solo visitors have not been allowed to visit Israel for nonessential reasons since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, with the only exceptions being for people who are visiting family who live in Israel.

Right now, the U.S. is on Israel’s orange travel list. That means if you are fully vaccinated and cleared to travel to Israel, you will have to quarantine for 24 hours or isolate until the results of a COVID-19 test taken upon arrival come back negative (whichever is first).

Reuters reported that travelers participating in the new small-group tour program will have to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test that was taken within 72 hours of arrival in Israel and take a serological test at the airport in Tel Aviv (TLV). This is in addition to proof of having received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within the last six months — or a booster shot.

More than half of Israel’s population has already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and while the U.S. debates the need for booster shots, 2.5 million people in Israel have already received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Still, the country saw a major outbreak of the delta variant in August, which forced the country to halt its efforts to resume tourism. Before the program was suspended, more than 2,000 people traveled to Israel in tour groups.

It is unclear when individual tourists will be allowed to return to Israel, but the timeline will depend on how the coronavirus situation develops in Israel and across the globe.

Featured image by Xinhua News Agency for Getty Images.

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