Cancellation of heritage trips due to coronavirus cost Israeli economy $200 million

Approximately 60,000 young Jews had to cancel trips to Israel due to coronavirus, costing the economy hundreds of millions.

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Taglit-Birthright participants (file)
Taglit-Birthright participants (file)
Flash90

The cancellation of trips for Jewish youths and young adults due to the coronavirus crisis will cost the Israeli economy about $200 million.

Trips for about 60,000 young Jews planned for the spring and summer have been canceled, Israel’s business daily Calcalist reported. The heritage trips include programs sponsored by Birthright Israel-Taglit, Masa, and Jewish schools and youth groups.

The estimated loss does not include revenue from air travel.

Israel closed its borders to the entrance of non-citizens on March 18. It has twice pushed back reopening to foreigners, with a tentative date set to allow in non-citizens for July 1.

The Ministry of Interior approved special visas to people attending Masa’s long-term programs in Israel, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The Israel Experience-Educational Tourism Services Ltd., which organizes many of the heritage trips including Birthright, told Calcalist that it has lost $40 million in revenue in the past four months and put 75 percent of its employees on unpaid leave.



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