While travelling to Israel isn’t on the cards right now, this might also be the best time to plan a future trip. By Andrea Romano
The Israel Ministry of Tourism is hopeful that the country will be able to welcome back tourists from the US and Canada as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Given the number of new and exciting projects happening in the country, tourists will also be tempted to make Israel their first post-pandemic trip.
First off, getting to Israel from the US will be easier than ever in 2021. American Airlines recently announced the launch of a direct daily flight from JFK in New York City to Tel Aviv starting May 6, 2021, as well as a non-stop flight from Miami to Tel Aviv, thrice a week beginning in June. Delta, United Airlines, and EL AL Airlines also have some daily options.
Once you arrive, new accommodations will be waiting for you to set down your suitcase and relax. On August 5, the Six Senses Shaharut hotel will officially open in the Arava Valley of the Negev Desert. This highly anticipated hotel features 58 luxurious and sustainable suites and villas (not to mention gorgeous views of the desert). This resort is a must-stay for adventure travellers, with an Earth Lab, camel stables, spa, and an authentic Bedouin dining experience, as well as off-roading, mountain climbing, mountain biking, rappelling and more.
In addition, Soho House is coming to Tel Aviv sometime in the spring of 2021. This stunning spa and resort will be built within a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood. With 24 bedrooms, a terrace, and an outdoor pool, guests can enjoy a small, boutique experience from a hotel chain with 27 locations around the world.
Other hotel openings in the country include the Nobu Hotel Tel Aviv, the Sofia Sea of Galilee Hotel (which is built in a historic, stone house from the 19th century), and the contemporary Port Tower Hotel that has a stunning view of the sea.
Outside of your hotel, there are many ancient wonders to enjoy across Israel. Many sites of interest have been renovated and upgrade while tourists were away, including the Tower of David, which is under a multi-million-dollar renewal and conservation project. In addition, the Terra Sancta Museum, a museum network that includes all the places of conservation of the historical, artistic, and archaeological heritage of the Custody of the Holy Land, is undergoing renovation, while Magdala, a holy site near the sea of Galilee, has been organising virtual pilgrimages throughout the pandemic. The Emmaus Trail, too, is being constructed to allow visitors to hike from the Saxum Visitor Center to Emmaus Nicopolis.
Throughout the country, officials have been implementing new strategies in order to ensure health and safety for travellers in the wake of the pandemic, creating a so-called ‘Purple Standard’ for sanitation protocols. And, according to CNBC, the country’s vaccination programme is becoming one of the fastest in the world.
For more information and inspiration for your next trip to Israel, visit the Israel Ministry of Tourism website.
Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.