Catastrophe for Israel Tourism Trade comes with Journey Restrictions
By Aron Rosenthal / The Media Line
- Visitors from the US, France, Germany, Italy and Greece are among those who are now faced with self-isolating upon arrival
- Israel was about to say goodbye to COVID-19 and say hello to tourism when COVID-19 made a comeback.
- Israel banned unvaccinated people in many places, including synagogues.
All the illusions still cherished by tourists and business owners that travel to Israel will soon return to normal have been dispelled by the announcement by the Ministry of Health this week that from the 11th they will be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus regardless of their age and whether they are or have recovered.
The countries to be included on the “Severe Travel Advisories” list are Botswana, Bulgaria, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malawi, the Netherlands, Tanzania, Rwanda, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United States.
The last item on this list is the one that most affects tourism and hospitality entrepreneurs. This is because a large proportion of the groups that entered the country as part of a pilot program or through the Birthright program are from the United States.
Cambodia, Colombia, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe are already on the “Severe Travel Warning” list.
And Israel has banned its citizens from traveling to 14 countries – Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Great Britain, and Uzbekistan – unless they are given permission an exception committee.
A spokesman for tour operator Rent a Guide told The Media Line: “At the moment, the United States was one of the main countries that [sent people] as tourists to Israel, [and it] has now been given an “orange” label, which means that they must self-isolate for at least seven days. “
Even before the government’s recent announcement, individual incoming tourism was not allowed, but some groups were granted special permits to enter via the pilot program or through educational trips.
Around 1,500 tourists visited Israel in July as part of the Ministry of Tourism’s pilot project.
“Most of the groups are from the US, while others are from Europe, the UK and South America,” the ministry told The Media Line.
The Rent a Guide spokesperson said, “Groups like Taglit-Birthright were allowed, but I imagine that will probably stop now because if people from the United States, where the majority of Birthright groups are from, at least have to have seven days of self-isolation, I imagine they won’t come to stay in self-isolation for seven days before they start traveling [around Israel]. “
Twenty-two tourist groups from the US were allowed to travel in August, a tourism department spokesman told The Media Line, adding that “there is naturally a reduction in the number of group tourist arrivals due to the new restrictions. It is difficult to assess the extent of the damage at this early stage, as the situation can change at any time. “
Oren, a manager of the Rothschild and Diaghilev Hotels in Tel Aviv, told The Media Line that both are worryingly empty.
“I can tell you that at the moment most of the tourists in our hotels are Israelis; There isn’t a lot of foreign tourism, ”he said.
When asked about the prospects for Israel’s hotel industry later that year, Oren replied, “I think we will have a fourth lockdown in the next few months.”
The government’s announcement comes as the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, with new infections now averaging more than 3,000 per day.
Since the new cases are 32% of the 16.
“Avoid gatherings and get vaccinated – now. Otherwise there is no alternative to stricter restrictions, including bans, “said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Defense Secretary Benny Gantz reiterated the Prime Minister’s message, saying, “We need to prepare the public and public opinion for a lockdown in September, a month when the economic damage will be less.” [because of the Jewish High Holidays]and speed up vaccination efforts to prevent this. “
Aron Rosenthal is a student at the University of Edinburgh and an intern in The Media Line’s Press and Policy Student Program.
This article was first published by the MediaLine.