Santa keeps Christmas spirit afloat during Dead Sea photoshoot

Santa Claus rode a paddle board to a spot in the Dead Sea a short way from the shore and planted his Christmas tree there.

Santa Claus striking a pose for the cameras after sticking a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea yesterday (photo credit: REUTERS)
Santa Claus striking a pose for the cameras after sticking a Christmas tree on a salt formation in the Dead Sea yesterday
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel's Tourism Ministry, in an effort to revive the tourism industry that has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, gave Santa Claus a photoshoot at the Dead Sea, in a nod to Christian pilgrims, the Straits Times has reported. 
Usually, Christians pay a visit to Israel during the holiday season, but this year, they were kept away from the country because of the pandemic.
Santa Claus was spotted riding a paddle board on Sunday to a spot in the Dead Sea a short way from the shore where the salt had accumulated.
He then planted his Christmas tree, and sat down in a lounge chair in the middle of the lake. The tree, of course, given the saline-rich waters, had no chance of surviving, and Santa took it with him when he returned to shore.
The Israeli tourism industry has lost NIS 12.1 billion since the start of 2020 due to COVID-19 health regulations that have kept visitors out of the country as well as keeping events and other tourist attractions closed. September alone saw a 96% drop in the number of tourists entering the country in comparison to the same month the previous year. 

Hagay Hacohen and Sarah Ben Nun contributed to this report.