On Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, 8 kilometers south of Jerusalem, they are preparing to receive tourists. However, very few tourists will come to see the famous temple even during the Christmas holidays. This is due to the quarantine restrictions, writes RBC-Ukraine with reference to the Times of Israel. Only a few will be able to visit here on holidays.
For almost two years, Bethlehem practically did not allow tourists, there are no guests here even on the eve of holidays.
Christmas is usually the peak time for tourism at the traditional birthplace of Jesus located in the West Bank. Before the pandemic, thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world celebrated Christmas in the basilica and in the nearby square. Most tourists visiting Bethlehem arrive in Israel: there is no airport in the West Bank, writes the Times of Israel.
Earlier this month, Israel reopened its borders to vaccinated tourists. But few are expected to come to Bethlehem this holiday season. Moreover, soon after the opening of the borders, Israel on November 28 again banned entry to all who are not citizens of the country for two weeks.
Many hotels in Bethlehem have closed, and shopkeepers have tried hard to cut costs so as not to stop working.
Just over 30,000 tourists arrived in Israel in the first half of November, up from 421,000 in November 2019, according to the Israeli Interior Ministry.