Thu, 06 May 2021

JERUSALEM, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Israel will allow vaccinated tourist groups to enter the country starting May 23, officials said Tuesday.

After about a year of closure for tourists, the tourism ministry and the health ministry drafted an outline for the reopening of tourism, according to a joint statement issued by the ministries.

In the first stage, a limited number of groups could start to arrive in the country.

Individual travellers will be allowed into Israel in the second stage, with health considerations determining the timeline, the ministries said.

All visitors will be required to present a negative PCR test before boarding the flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at the Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv.

"Discussions will continue with various countries to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, so as to cancel the need for the serological test," the statement read.

Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said she was hopeful the move will revive the country's tourism industry.

"It is time that Israel's unique advantage as a safe and healthy country start to assist it in recovering from the economic crisis," she said in the statement.

Israel has been closing its borders since March 2020.

Israel started to come out of its third nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in February during a vaccination rollout aimed to vaccinate its entire adult population. Recent figures issued by the health ministry show some 5 million of Israel's 9.3 million population have received both shots.

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