Israel is reopening its gates to vaccinated tourists starting at the end of May.  

Launching a strategic campaign to ensure as many tourists as possible arrive in 2021, minister of tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen announced last Tuesday at a Tel Aviv press conference, seen in London on a webinar, of financial incentives to operate flights to the new ultra-modern Ramon International Airport located just 10 miles outside of Eilat. These were originally in place before the Covid pandemic, and now have been reinstated and will enable foreign carriers to bring holidaymakers direct to the country’s popular Red Sea resort.  Monarch in its time flew to the military airport at Ovda 60 miles from Eilat and was replaced by Wizz who stopped their flights when the civil part of that airport closed.

“Ensuring inbound tourism to Eilat is my obligation to the city's residents, but this is also a clear statement to the entire tourism industry: we are preparing for the resumption of tourism on a large scale as soon as possible,” the minister said.

Speaking about the technical details, the minister explained that Israel would open to a limited number of vaccinated groups at the end of May, before allowing an unlimited number of parties to enter a month later. The plan, she explained, was that during July the skies would open to independent vaccinated travellers, without the need to come as part of a group.

Asked at the Aviation Club lunch last week (see in this week’s BTN) what was his airline’s position regarding the new airport, easyJet’s boss Johan Lundgren said that Tel Aviv Ben Gurion, was a major destination for the airline.

“We regularly review and monitor our routes and are always open to exploring new opportunities to ensure that our network matches customer demand and continue to provide great value flights to all our customers. We currently fly three routes from the UK to Tel Aviv in Israel. Beyond that we currently have no plans to fly to and from Eilat but will be keeping this under review."

See also ON TOUR: Ramon Airport Eilat 12 November  2018