Tour Update

In an ever-changing travel environment, one constant is our concern for our travelers' safety. With borders, hotels, and sites slowly opening in Europe and the Middle East, we have been formulating detailed plans to resume operations. Beyond logistics, our goal is that each of our guests will safely enjoy his/her travel experience.

Our Health protocols are being finalized for resumption of service.

Based on the progress in Israel and the West Bank, ETS is preparing to operate tours in the Holy Land by late October.

Regarding the restarting of operations in various locations:

Israel

  1. Progress on allowing groups back into the country is rapidly moving forward. Groups from countries with low rates of infection will be the first to enter, probably in September. 

  2. Testing at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for countries with higher rates of infection (including the USA) will be implemented and could be operational as early as late October.  

  3. Requirements to travel to Tel Aviv are not known but could include a negative COVID-19 test within days of departure.

  4. Masks are required in Israel and social distancing is the norm in all environments.

  5. Hotels have rigorous operational standards as dictated by the Health Ministry of Israel, including temperature checks when entering the hotel.

  6. Many sites and restaurants also require reservations to maintain safe numbers in their venues.

  7. Motorcoaches have been outfitted with advanced air purification systems, and capacities will be dictated by the Health Ministry.

  8. Egypt is open, but travel between Israel and Egypt is to be determined. Jordan has not reopened to foreign tourists, and its land borders and airport remain closed.

West Bank (including Bethlehem and Jericho)

Checkpoints with Israel are open. Masks and social distancing are also norms in the West Bank. All business entities involved in tourism are being trained in a 4-week course mandated by the Palestinian Authority on how to operate in the COVID-19 environment.  

Turkey

Tours to Turkey will resume in mid-October guided by the ETS Health protocols. Those guests with a fever may be subject to testing in the Istanbul Airport.

Greece

Tours to Greece may resume in October pending governmental action by the end of August. Testing may be required upon arrival in Athens.

Oberammergau

The Passion Play was postponed from 2020 until 2022.

Cruises

All cruises except the Christmas Market Cruise in late 2020 have been shifted to 2021 departures. 

4/29/20


3/30/20

Dear Guests:

As the seriousness of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to intensify, I wanted to personally let you know how we at ETS are responding and adapting to the situation. Over the last 46 years, our commitment to providing an excellent travel experience that keeps the safety, security, and well being of our guests as our first priority has not wavered and will not waver during the current situation.

From March 12, 2020 to June 1, 2020 we are suspending all international tours in line with President Trump’s announcement to restrict those coming from Europe and the US State Department’s Global Level 3 Health Advisory.

For tours departing after the US government’s suspension we will continue to evaluate tours on a case by case basis with guidance from the US government. In addition, we will follow the guidance provided by the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the various other governmental organizations both domestic and international of the locations we tour.

Like you, it is my hope that this situation will pass quickly without disruptions to your travel plans. However, I know you most likely have further questions.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below for our policies concerning interruptions caused by the coronavirus.

Lastly, please join me in praying for the following:

  • The Lord’s intervention in this outbreak
  • The healing of those infected with the coronavirus
  • Wisdom, guidance, and protection for healthcare workers and government officials
  • Provision and protection for our partners overseas who’s families and lively hood are being negatively affected by canceled tours, quarantines, and infections.

Best Regards,
James Ridgway
Chief Executive Officer
ETS – The Leader in Faith Based Travel
 



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What happens if my itinerary is affected?
If it becomes apparent that a scheduled tour cannot continue as planned, our staff will contact your travel advisor to present the available options.

Holy Land Tours: 

  • Due to Israel’s strict quarantine policy, the US government’s suspension of travel coming from Europe, and the US State Department’s Global Level 3 Health Advisory, all tours to the Holy Land departing June 30, 2020 or earlier are in the process of being postponed to a new date in conjunction with your travel advisor.
     
  • Oberammergau Passion Play Tours: 
    Please see our Oberammergau Postponement page for details: http://www.etstours.com/passion-play-postponed


Is postponing an option?

  • For tours traveling to the Holy Land that depart on April 12, 2020 or earlier, ETS will place a hold on your ticket before departure thus retaining its value for future travel in line with the airline's strict policies.
    As part of postponement, you will be placed on stand-by pending the establishment of new travel dates. Amounts paid will be transferred to the new dates including the travel protection plan premium unless a claim is filed. ETS will be working with your travel advisor to establish a new date in the near future.
     
  • For all other international and domestic tours or cruises, any fees imposed by the airlines, hotels, and/or any other vendor will be incurred by the guest.
     
  • If ETS needs to postpone more programs, we will diligently work with all vendors to minimize or eliminate all vendor imposed fees.

If I cancel, will I receive a refund?

  • If you choose to cancel instead of postpone, cancellation fees will include any loss of airline ticket value imposed by the airline plus any vendor fees that are incurred. ETS will not impose its own cancellation fees.

Will my travel protection plan cover my cancellation?

  • Unfortunately, all major travel insurance providers have thus far deemed the coronavirus to be a foreseeable event.


We will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and update you as your trip gets closer.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your travel advisor.