After years of quarantining and distancing, tourism is alive and well. As the world reopens, tourists from all over the world are ready to set sail to new destinations. Though cases have dropped, has the world really recovered from the covid-19 pandemic? Will things ever return to the way they were? Tel Aviv says no!
The city has changed with the epidemic, and put in place protocols to keep tourists and citizens safe and healthy. Whether walking along the beach, or catching a bus to a nightclub, tangible changes around Tel Aviv are everywhere. Israel’s population is 96.4% (of those eligible) vaccinated and permanent protective measures have been established, making it one of the best countries to visit for those still worried about contracting Corona Virus. It starts at the airport; upon arrival to Israel, passengers are offered, but not obliged, to take a free PCR test at Ben Gurion Airport. Visitors are no longer required to be vaccinated, and there is no mandatory quarantine.
At border control travelers must present an entry form, this new travel document ensures tourists have not been in any red zones or around infected persons, and that they have a place to quarantine if need be. Once out of the airport, hailing a taxi is the next step. Though it is possible to hop into a vacant taxi, most drivers have turned to apps like Gett or Yango to book rides. Additionally, nearly all taxi drivers prefer passengers to sit in the back seat, sitting “shotgun” is not allowed.
While exploring Tel Aviv it is not uncommon to see people opting to wear masks or face coverings in public, though they are not required. Hand sanitizing stations are set up all over the city, and it is common practice to sanitize often. The city has worked to digitize many public services, a major one being the bus system. In the past Israeli public transportation was available to anyone with 5 NIS and a place to go, however now bus passengers must purchase a bus card (called a Rav Kav) before getting on a bus. Tourists can buy a bus pass at the airport, any train station, pharmacy or tourist information center, and the pass allows travel, via train and bus, all over the country.
Another public service that expanded into the digital world is tourist attractions. Many Tel Aviv highlights use their websites to allow guests to purchase tickets in advance online to prevent overcrowding. Appointments and pre-scheduling is necessary for most institutions, from the post office, to bank, welkins are not welcomed. Though Tel Aviv has changed, certain things will never change: there will always be pinging of Matkot on the beach, there will always be music pouring into the streets until the early hours of the the morning, and Tel Aviv will always be the nonstop city.