JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has begun welcoming individual tourists for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities hope the return of solo travelers will breathe new life into the struggling tourism industry. Before the pandemic, the Christmas season saw hundreds of thousands of people visit Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israel had planned to reopen to tourists last spring but delayed the move amid a spike in cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Israel has since rolled out a booster campaign in which nearly half the population has received a third vaccine dose, driving cases back down.