The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the world, with tourism companies taking an especially hard blow. With the widespread fear and newly enforced travel alerts, travelers are rethinking their next vacation and canceling their holiday plans. We have the inside scoop on how it is affecting tourism in Israel.
Tourist Israel says, “Travel experts at Tourist Israel are taking every possible action and precaution to ensure travelers who are already in Israel, or are still planning on coming, have a safe and pleasant journey. We are following closely the official orders from the Israeli government and providing around-the-clock customer service to travelers, addressing any concerns they may have regarding their upcoming trip.
Tours continue to operate as per usual wherever possible and every conceivable measure is taken to assure that customers travel in as sterile an environment as possible. We advise all travelers to wash their hands and carry hand sanitizer with them. Travelers who aren’t feeling well should refrain from joining a tour group, where they may put others at risk of getting sick. When coughing and sneezing, travelers should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow, and wash their hands after.
Not all travelers feel comfortable proceeding with their trips during this time, and we understand this. To accommodate travelers as best as possible, Tourist Israel is allowing such passengers to reschedule their booked tours for a later date.
“We know this is a stressful time for a lot of travelers. Some of their flights are being canceled. Others are canceling their own trips due to concerns over the virus. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, our main goal remains the same – to provide a memorable and safe touring experience for our customers. We will continue to do that in whatever way possible,” says Tourist Israel founder, Ben Julius.
Travelers who decide to go ahead with their travel plans are advised to pay close attention to their government’s regulations and Israel’s government regulations. Israel has not been shy to ban passengers from a number of countries including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria. They have even gone so far as to send some of them home immediately upon arrival to Ben Gurion Airport. In response, many airlines are canceling flights to Israel altogether.
While these measures may seem extreme, the restrictions seem to be doing their job. In Israel, the situation currently remains under control, with life going about as usual for most people, and all major tourist sites, except for those in the West Bank, open to the public. Spring is the perfect time to visit all the major landmarks in Israel including the Old City of Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv Mediterranean coast, and the unrivaled sunrise cast on the ancient Masada ruins. For those who planned on visiting sites that are now closed, like Bethlehem and Jericho, we are updating the tour route where possible or helping those whose tours were affected to find another experience that they will enjoy.
Tourists can rest assured that the Israeli government is actively seeking to prevent the spread of the virus and thus, taking every necessary action to prevent the virus from spreading around the country. Israel’s Health Ministry is urging Israelis to refrain from traveling abroad and enforcing a two-week quarantine for Israeli residents who have returned from many countries, with the list being updated regularly on the Ministry of Health’s official website.
The number of infected patients is growing but remains manageable, and they are being treated in special quarantined units at the hospital. During the recent elections, 16 polling stations were set up throughout Israel for the 5,000 voters who are currently in quarantine after returning from Corona hotspot countries. The polling stations were staffed by paramedics in protective suits and masks. The voters were required to wear masks and gloves as they voted.
All this goes to show that the country’s resilience to adversity continues, just as it always has during times of uncertainty. Despite the effect on tourism, Tourist Israel continues to show off all the country has to offer to any visitors who still wish to join us”.