Coronavirus travel update for photographers visiting Israel
EXCITING UPDATE – April 16, 2021:
Emerging this week from local news channels may be the most hopeful and exciting announcements in the fight against Coronavirus since the pandemic began over a year ago. A joint statement by the Health Ministry & Tourism Ministry announced that organised tour groups will be allowed to enter Israel starting on May 23. The statement said that tour groups at first will be allowed to enter, with individuals allowed entry at a later stage. This will allow for control and to monitor potential infections in stages. Tourists will be required to take a PCR test before boarding a plane, and then take a PCR test & serological test on arrival, to prove the existence of antibodies. This is huge news for the local tourist industry, as almost all foreigners were banned from entering the country since March in an attempt to control the pandemic. The fight against the virus has seen major advances recently, with the Health Ministry releasing a statement that from this Sunday, Israelis will no longer be required to wear protective face masks outside. With the world’s fastest per-capita vaccination drive and subsequent drop in new infection cases, these recent developments have created a new sense of optimism.
- April 12, 2021:
Since the outbreak and spread of Covid-19 around the globe in early 2020, the travel industry in particular has been hit especially hard. Lockdowns, quarantines, facemarks.. We are all beyond being fed up with the effect and disruption of the virus to our lives. While we have also suffered in Israel from the effects, we are also one of the few countries that tackled the problem head on and at an early stage. With regular testing, lockdowns and a rapid mass vaccination programme, we are heading in the right direction. Restaurants, shops, commercial centres, entertainment venues, educational institutes and most other industries have all opened up. This includes hotels and local tourism, which has really shown us a light at the end of the tunnel. This is especially promising for the return of international tourism, as 2019 was a record year for foreign visitors, with 2020 predicted to overtake it before the pandemic put a halt to our plans.
Recently, Jordan and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula opened their land borders with Israel. While flights are currently limited to halt the spread of mutations of the virus to enter the country, there is talk of air borders opening up to visitors in the near future for inbound/outbound travel. This is likely to begin with travel corridors with other countries with a low infection rate and effective vaccination programme. Photographers are itching to visit distant lands with their cameras and we predict an avalanche of visitors arriving to Israel – to the extent that has not been seen before. The number of daily cases of Coronavirus infections has plummeted 97% thanks to the country’s effective vaccination programme. According to a top computational biologist from the Weizmann Institute of Science that was interviewed on Channel 12 news this week, Israel could be the first country in the world to achieve herd immunity.
We have already been accepting bookings for 2022 as well as for the fall of 2021. Due to the expected high rate of bookings for flights and hotels, we urge you to plan and book your trip in advance. We are holding dates in our diary for tours and workshops with fellow photographers, moving forward. On a personal level, I am very excited with the thought of travel photographers returning to Israel in the near future, and am looking forward to getting back to what I love to do the most – guiding fellow photographers to Israel’s most photogenic sites, capturing spontaneous portraits and aiding you in improving your creative and technical skills in the wonderful world of photography.
Here is a useful link for travellers making plans to enter Israel: https://www.gov.il/en/departments/guides/flying-to-israel-guidlines
Here is a link with updated information from the Ministry of Health: https://govextra.gov.il/ministry-of-health/corona/corona-virus-en/