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World News

Israel: Holy sites open to international tourists from August

by Heather Preston

Oversees pilgrims will be free to attend Israel's Holy sites from August, following an announcement from the country's tourist board. 

On Wednesday, the Israel Tourism Office announced it is set to reopen its borders to international visitors from 1st August, starting with tourists from Greece.

It comes after Israel was ranked third in a list of the safest countries during the Covid-19 crisis.

Research from Deep Knowledge Ventures studied the behaviour of 200 countries around the world and found that Switzerland, Germany and Israel were the destinations that most effectively responded to and overcame the challenges of the pandemic.

In light of this, Jerusalem is beginning to open up attractions, hotels and restaurants to domestic tourists.

This will come as welcome news for many Christians in the region whose livelihoods rely heavily on religious tourism.

At the peak of the lockdown thousands of pilgrims left the area as various religious sites were forced to close down.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is thought to be the location of Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection,  re-opened its doors to domestic tourists in May.

Sharon E. Bershadsky, director of the Israel Government Tourist Office UK: "We are thrilled to see the Israel tourism industry begin to open up again, including the world-famous hotels, restaurants and attractions of Jerusalem."

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