Israel to Resume Welcoming International Tour Groups
Israel will once again begin welcoming small international tour groups later this month.
Starting Sept. 19, the country will allow small groups between five and 30 people to enter from "green," "yellow," and "orange" countries, Reuters reported. All group members must be fully vaccinated.
Travelers will also have to show proof they received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within six months of traveling to Israel or that they received a vaccine booster, the wire service reported. To enter, tourists will also have to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival and undergo a serological test upon landing in Tel Aviv.
Israel will not limit the number of tour groups allowed as part of the new policy, but groups from countries on the "red" list — Turkey, Mexico, Bulgaria, and Brazil — will not be allowed.
Israel first opened to vaccinated tour groups in May, including those with the popular Birthright Israel program, but paused its border opening in August due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, according to Reuters. In June, the country pushed back plans to welcome fully vaccinated individual tourists, who will still not be allowed.
Currently, the United States is on the "orange" list, according to the government, meaning that individual travelers must quarantine upon arrival, regardless of their vaccination status.
Constantly shifting international travel rules have become a hallmark of the pandemic era. Last week, the EU removed the U.S. from its list of safe countries and several countries have since implemented new restrictions, including Spain and Denmark. Others, like Sweden, have outright banned American tourists.
Meanwhile, other destinations have welcomed travelers from the U.S. in recent days, including Abu Dhabi, which opened to fully vaccinated international travelers over the weekend; and Canada, which started allowing vaccinated American travelers to enter last month.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.