Only 2,300 foreign visitors arrived in Israel during May

Among the visitors arriving in May, approximately 2,200 were considered tourists - remaining more than one day in the country - and another 100 were day visitors.

Passengers wearing masks push trolleys at the departures terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Passengers wearing masks push trolleys at the departures terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Only 2,300 foreign visitors arrived in Israel during the entire month of May, according to official data published on Thursday, reflecting the impact of strict government restrictions on international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Other than cases deemed exceptional by the Foreign Ministry, all foreign nationals have been denied entry to Israel since March 18, even if they can prove their ability to remain in home isolation for 14 days upon arrival. The entry ban is currently valid until June 15.
According to the data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), visitors are defined as individuals entering the country with either a tourism visa or a temporary residence visa, including students.
Among the visitors arriving in May, approximately 2,200 were considered tourists – remaining more than one day in the country – and another 100 were day visitors.
The figures represent a dramatic drop compared to previous years, with about 466,000 visitors arriving in May 2019 – including 440,000 tourists.
A similarly dramatic drop was also witnessed in the departure of Israelis abroad in May 2020, due to limited international airlines operating in Israel, restricted entry into other countries and the prospect of a 14-day isolation period upon their return.
In total, only 8,300 trips abroad were made by Israeli citizens in May, compared to 656,000 in May 2019. All but 100 trips abroad were by air from Ben-Gurion Airport, the CBS said. Among those leaving the country, 600 trips were made by Israelis living permanently abroad.
Despite growing pressure from the tourism sector and the gradual return of international carriers to Ben-Gurion Airport, senior aviation officials have suggested in recent days that Israel will only open its gates to foreign visitors in mid-July.
In mid-May, El Al announced that it would be extending its halt on all scheduled flights to and from Israel until June 20, except for cargo flights and one-off services. Approximately 6,000 employees, the vast majority of the carrier’s workforce, have been placed on unpaid leave until June 30.
Plummeting visitor numbers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic arrives following a third consecutive record-breaking year of incoming tourism in 2019, with approximately 4.55 million tourists visiting Israel.
Injecting approximately NIS 23 billion into the economy – a boon to the tourism industry which will not be repeated this year – the leading source countries for incoming tourism were the United States, followed by France, Russia, Germany and Britain.



Tags Tourism