The year 2022 in the Holy Land begins with hope for the return of pilgrims. From next week, as announced by the Israeli government, tourists and pilgrims will be able to enter the country. No limit in numbers, the only condition: to be fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid.
KOBBY BARDA Deputy Director General Ministry of Tourism – Israel “I can’t say I’m optimistic regarding to that disease. It’s clear that we’re going to have to adjust itself to windows – the end of the wave here and the beginning there, very short windows of a month or two between waves. We have to be very focused and very minded on the little windows we have.” In 2021, arrivals were just over 400 thousand, half of the previous year. A figure far from the record recorded in 2019 with 4.5 million tourists.
KOBBY BARDA Deputy Director General Ministry of Tourism – Israel “We are looking at a two-year framework – in this period we will still be between waves. Our ministry has decided is to build a program which invests more than one billion shekels in infrastructure, so that once the Covid passes, we will be able to offer new services to the tourists who will come.” At least half of the tourists who come to Israel are Christian pilgrims: KOBBY BARDA Vice direttore generale Ministero del Turismo – Israele “This is why the ministry decided to invest in infrastructure in religious holy sites. In these two years this will be the main target, the people that we want to talk to and we want to make sure that they understand that they are very welcome here and that we want them to come.
” Words of hope also come from Bethlehem, which in these two years of the pandemic has suffered particularly from the lack of pilgrims. After the Christmas celebrations with local Christians, the hope is to see pilgrims fill these roads again. Br ENRIQUE SEGOVIA, ofm Guardian of the Franciscan convent of Saint Catherine – Bethlehem “Tourists and pilgrims will begin to arrive again. Maybe it won’t be right away like it was before, but they will certainly include a visit to our holy places. We have great hope that people will return to make pilgrimages here in the Holy Land.”