November 1, the target date for the opening of Israel to tourism, battle. Details of the outline have already been leaked, although the outline has not yet been officially released – and tourists are worried.
In the “battle” between the Ministry of Tourism, whose job it is to push in as many tourists as possible, and the Ministry of Health, which sees tourism as a risk of illness, the latter has the upper hand. Apparently, Israel’s tourism outline is unusual in relation to the world, when it will include conditions that will not allow potential tourists, even vaccinated, to reach Israel.
And why? First, because the recognition of his green daughter, that is, the validity of a vaccine certificate, is different in Israel compared to the world (for vaccinators in the third or two doses who have not yet passed half a year receive the second dose). Secondly, in light of the apparent condition of a requirement for a daily check for tourists in groups, in addition to the fact that unvaccinated children will not be allowed in accompanied by their parents, or an outline recognizing the recovering. In light of this, the fear and despair among those engaged in the industry is growing.
Inbound tourism agents tell Globes that a world travel wholesaler is not willing to market Israel in the apparent entry format. An agent who recently visited the conference said that “an Italian tourism organizer who markets Israel has announced that Israel will be dropped from the tourism map for 2022, as conditions are too strict and stringent.
Israel Rodrig of Ofakim, who attended the recent TTG conference in Italy, believes that “the requirement for a vaccine that is valid for up to six months will prevent tourism to Israel from being renewed. “.
Carlos Arlowski, owner of Kelly Tours, which is currently in a series of meetings with agents in Spain, reflects a similar picture: “Local agents are puzzled by the way Israel opens its gates. They say they will not be able to formulate plans to send tourists to Israel in 2022.”
The United States, the main source of tourism in Israel, is also wondering about Israeli policy. The incoming tourism organizer, who is in contact with American agents, stated that “the feeling there is that Israel has given up tourism from the United States. , But Israel is not on their map due to the strict conditions. They have other alternatives. “
Inflation of pens
At international tourism conferences the competition is tough. As the desire to vacation increases and tourists are looking for where to spend their money, tourism wholesalers around the world invest in marketing their countries to tourists. Local wholesalers feel that Israel – which in any case is an expensive and challenging marketing destination – is at a disadvantage in light of the outline and the strict restrictions as stated. The frustration with the apparent outline led the tourists, especially the tour guides who were badly affected by the crisis, to demonstrate (again) at Ben Gurion Airport this week.
“Did anyone even think what it means for a tourist to shove a pen in his nose every day?” An agent involved in marketing organized trips to Israel told Globes. “There is a widespread opinion that tourists are just waiting for Israel to allow them to come, and they will do so on any condition. So it is really not like that.” The same agent is frustrated by formulating the outline “without talking to us – those who are in the field and know how to create an outline that will bring the tourist and maintain the health interest.”
In the business section of Globes Day, I-Lam Chan, who has been serving as a tour guide for Chinese speakers for about a decade, was recently interviewed. Chan believes in Israel’s potential as a tourist destination, but fears it will melt in the face of restrictions. “Imagine what the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher would look like when each tourist would be required to undergo a 15-minute test. “It is a heavy demand. People come to visit and see the Via Dolorosa, but not to go through Via Dolorosa themselves.”
Disharmony between countries
At a conference of the World Aviation Organization in Boston held in early October, various outlines of countries for receiving tourists were presented, and it was clear to all that a simple outline that does not deter in the bureaucratic aspect, will help encourage tourists to reach the countries. The mindset was that entry for the vaccinated should be restricted only, subject to a corona check before the flight to the destination country.
Yatta CEO Willy Walsh spoke at the conference about the large gaps between fast-recovering domestic aviation and international aviation, which are also linked to countries’ entry restrictions: 22% compared to 2019.
“The disharmony between countries is what leaves many tourists in their countries. Passengers are reluctant to fly because of bureaucracy and countless documents, when they mostly do not know what each country wants,” Walsh explained. “Governments have had enough time to examine how it is possible and necessary to proceed when it comes to opening borders also for the benefit of their economic benefit, and to act uniformly, as a passport is a uniform document recognized worldwide to produce uniformity regarding tourist requirements.”
A survey by the Aviation Organization among the 50 countries that account for 92% of global traffic revealed that 38 of them set some restrictions on entry, 6 allow children to accompany unvaccinated parents, 24 receive only PCR tests, 16 sales antigen tests, 18 countries exempt vaccinated people from testing. 20 allow entry conditions for recoverers who are similar to those vaccinated and 33 exempt children from an entrance check – although the ages of the children vary between countries.
Another issue that worries the airline organization in the context of bureaucratic requirements is that the pre-flight process, which has already lengthened (with the obligation to present the test results), will lead to unreasonable congestion at airports as the demand for flying increases. “Before the epidemic the pre-flight procedure doubled itself from an hour and a half on average to three hours during peak hours,” Walsh said.
“What is really worrying is that when the numbers approach 2019, the pre-flight process could reach five hours. In addition, as passenger traffic has increased we have seen an increase in flight delays. This is a situation that could not continue due to passenger inconvenience By the airports. “
Beata strives for a digital vision that will bind all travel documents, including vaccine certificates or corona test findings. “Apart from the confusion of passengers about the requirements of each country, the second problem is chaos in the pre-flight procedure. In such a situation, those who do not have to fly will not do so. We see family visits mainly, and little leisure or business tourism.”
Welsh mentions that “aviation is a bilateral matter, and it would be right to compare entry conditions between countries in the form of reciprocity and simplification of conditions for passengers.
Unobjectively, he insists that the impact of tourism on morbidity in countries is lower than thought. As an example it provides the UK, which has long decided to remove restrictions on tourists. “Out of 3 million visitors to the UK in February-August, 42,000 were sampled for Corona, averaging about 250 a day, which is a time when the UK reached 35,000 verified daily. That means a lot, and countries need to learn from that.”
The green character obstacle
Back to Israel: The emerging outline is taking the air out of the horror of expecting to receive tourists this coming winter. The frustration grows when you look at the outline announced by the US, which will allow tourists from Europe, China, Britain and India to enter from November 8. Conditions: Tourists are only vaccinated, subject to a PCR test within 72 hours before the flight. No post-landing checks, and no conditions Beyond that.
Countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece and France even settle for vaccine certificates, with no requirement for corona tests. Individual countries require those entering them to perform a corona check after landing, including Israel and the United Arab Emirates, an issue that also depends on the unreliability of the corona checks that all passengers are required to perform 72 hours before the flight to Israel. The extent of the forgeries that are discovered daily probably does not allow for a choice.
The main obstacle in the outline concerns the definition of who is vaccinated who is entitled to a green label. Israel, as stated, is stricter in relation to the countries of the world. Those who are vaccinated at the entrance to the United States are not vaccinated at the entrance to Israel, if they have received two vaccine doses and six months have passed since receiving the second dose. This requirement will leave many potential tourists out of Israel’s loop A third dose of vaccine is not widely known in the world, as is well known.