Israel hopes to reopen to tourism this summer
The Israel ministry of tourism has prepared a plan for bringing back tourists by the middle of 2021.
The plan includes adaptation to the Covid-19 era in all areas covered by the activities of the ministry, including marketing, infrastructure and the tourist experience.
Last year began with optimism for another record-breaking year for incoming tourist arrivals to Israel and a continuation of the momentum of record highs in recent years, but ended with the skies closed and a ban on incoming tourists.
In total, about 850,000 tourists entered Israel in 2020 - a decrease of 81 per cent compared to the prior year.
The Israel ministry of tourism, which is responsible for the industry that serves as an engine of growth for the economy, spearheaded a series of moves aimed at preserving the tourist infrastructure, both physical and marketing, to prepare and be ready for the day after the pandemic.
Israel minister of tourism, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, said: “The past year has dealt a severe blow to the tourism industry.
“Such a year should be used to strengthen and build infrastructure, work plans and programs that strengthen the industry for the moment when it can reopen.
“This, alongside concern for the people working in the tourism industry during such a time when their income has been totally decimated.
“Despite the difficulties, we were able to implement significant plans that helped the economy during this period.”
Israel currently leads the world in terms of Covid-19 vaccination, with approaching 20 per cent of the population having had at least the first of two injections.
However, cases are currently rising, with stricter lockdown measures set to be introduced.
The working premise in the marketing department is that, when the skies re-open around the world, there will be fierce competition for every tourist, and the countries that will be the first to act will gain an advantage.
Accordingly, the ministry has prepared a plan to bring back tourists to Israel.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2020, with the spread of the pandemic, the ministry instigated many actions to maintain those marketing channels which were nurtured over many years, and to maintain Israel as an attractive tourist destination in the minds of potential tourists.
“In the next year, we will develop the master plan for the tourism industry, synchronising between projects and creating a holistic approach at the national level,” said Farkash-Hacohen.
“This, with a change in the implementation of infrastructure projects in an alternative to government companies.
“We will soon forward the monies for financing projects to the various authorities who have submitted requests.
“We are already working together with the ministry of health on an exit plan for the tourism industry.
“The plan will create certainty and it will operate under the principle that whoever was most affected in previous times will be among the first to open as we exit lockdown.
“Together with all this, we are working on a plan to reduce costs that will benefit both owners and consumers.
“A lot of work still lies ahead of us, we will find the right balance between the economy and the virus and we will give breathing space to the various sectors that have been affected in the industry.”