Israel to woo UAE visitors as it prepares to relaunch tourism

Israel announces plans to attract visitors from the United Arab Emirates, after last year’s historic normalization deal and as the Jewish state prepares to reopen to groups of vaccinated tourists on May 23.

Israel’s borders have largely been closed since March 2020, when it imposed its first of three pandemic lockdowns.

But a successful vaccination campaign has enabled a broad economic reopening, months after the UAE established full ties with Israel in a US-brokered deal.

File: Tourists and Christian pilgrims take pictures outside of the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus’s birth, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 12, 2018. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

“Dubai has great tourism potential for Israel,” Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen told reporters, as she unveiled a marketing push including a billboard campaign in Dubai.

Israeli officials have predicted interest among Emirati tourists, notably in seeing the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site in East Jerusalem.

Farkash-Hacohen said that while Israel would initially only let tour groups into the country, vaccinated individual travelers would be granted entry from July.

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