Israel aims to attract 100,000 tourists from the UAE annually: minister

Israel is targeting to attract around 100,000 tourists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) annually, Israeli Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

Farkash-Hacohen said, “Tourism is key to building a lasting peace between countries, and Israel looks forward to welcoming travelers from the UAE.”

Direct flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv have already been launched. Dubai-based budget carrier flydubai has started operating 14 flights a week offering a double daily service between Dubai International Airport and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport. Israel’s Israir, meanwhile, was the first Israeli airline to operate a commercial flight to Dubai.

Farkash-Hacohen is expecting there will be 25 weekly flights between UAE and Israel beginning next month.

She added that “the visa-free entry for citizens of the two countries will take effect by end of this month or early January, and this will reduce the bureaucracy when visiting the two countries.” The UAE and Israel signed a mutual visa waiver agreement, enabling Emirati and Israeli travellers to obtain visa-on-arrival.

At the moment, however, Farkash-Hacohen noted Israel is still limiting the influx of tourists due to the pandemic. “We grade countries based on their level of COVID-19 infection,” she explained.

Travelers returning from “red” countries (those with high levels of COVID-19 infections) are required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in Israel. The Israel Health Ministry, meanwhile, currently lists the UAE as a “green” area.