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Israel to host 70th Miss Universe in December

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Jul 22, 2021 5:14 pm

For the first time in its 70-year history, the pageant is heading to Israel, with Eilat as the host city of the competition, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) announced recently.

The southern resort city, cradled by the majestic Negev desert and the Red Sea, will welcome delegates from participating countries starting in late November.

Steve Harvey will be back as the pageant’s presenter, after the pandemic-delayed Miss Universe 2020 opted for former Miss Universe winners and Mario Lopez as its hosts in May.

According to the MUO, the contestants will explore Israel’s banner destinations like the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and more.

Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart said Israel has been on the organization’s shortlist of host countries for a number of years because of the country’s “rich history, beautiful landscapes, myriad of cultures and appeal as a global tourist destination.”

The resort city of Eilat will be the host of the 70th Miss Universe pageant. Photo from eilat.city

“As we sought an impressive location for our 70th anniversary celebration, it became clear through our conversations with acting mayor (Eli) Lankri and the Israeli Ministry that Israel has the best resources to host Miss Universe in December,” Shugart said in a statement.

Recently crowned Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza, who is set to travel to Israel ahead of the pageant, told Insider that she hopes “the world takes the vaccine as soon as it is available so that, come December, as many people as possible can join the 70th anniversary celebration in Israel.”

Israeli producer Tali Eshkoli and Los Angeles-based producer Assaf Blecher are responsible for bringing the Miss Universe pageant to Israel, which will be run by the MOU in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Eilat Municipality.

Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said the country is delighted to host the pageant for the first time, highlighting Israel’s effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rest of what the country has to offer.

“Israel is a beautiful land of creativity and innovation and we have successfully faced the COVID-19 crisis head on. Therefore, today we are among the first countries to host an international event—the unifying Miss Universe,” Razvozov said.

With its highly successful mass vaccination program that began in December 2020, Israel was able to reopen most sectors of its economy. Currently, the country allows entry for some tourists who are traveling as part of small closed groups but not for those who are traveling independently.

Philippine passport holders have a visa-free access to Israel up to 90 days, so hopefully come December, once Israel opens its border to more tourists, Filipino pageant fans will be able to watch and support in person our next Miss Universe Philippines in the much-awaited competition.