The Gaza Conflict and Tourism to Israel

The current conflict between Israel and Gaza has negatively affected tourism in the Holy Land, but perhaps not as much as one might expect. Generally speaking, the conflict is isolated away from most tourist areas. However, the rockets into Tel Aviv and near Jerusalem do change the dynamic a bit.

Ha’aretz, one of Israel’s major daily newspapers has a nice article about the effect of the conflict on tourism.

Below are a few interesting paragraphs from the article (emphasis added), the rest of which can be read at the link above.

As fighting in the Gaza Strip entered its fifth day and Palestinian rockets landed deeper into Israel, travelers who had hoped to visit the Holy Land are starting to think twice.

But travel industry executives say there has not yet been a mass wave of cancellation.

A number of hotels in Israel, along with flagship airline El Al, have already seen some cancelations and believe the number will grow if the violence heads into a second week.

There are minimal cancelations at this moment, but obviously it is an evolving situation,” said a source in the Tourism Ministry, which has yet to offer official statistics.

Jerusalem Marathon 2013

The date for the 2013 Jerusalem Marathon is March 1, 2013. More information is available at the Jerusalem Marathon web page.

More hotel rooms on the way in Israel

Due to a growing shortage of hotel rooms in Israel, the Israel Ministry of Tourism has approved approximately $57 million in grants for six projects to build 375 new hotel rooms in Jerusalem and Nazareth. In addition to the new rooms, the grant will also provide for the renovation of the Dan Pearl Hotel near the Jaffa and New Gates in Jerusalem.

Source: Israel Ministry of Tourism and Sar-El.

Israel Tourism is UP

In spite of increased political tensions in the region, tourism to Israel was up this summer. Statistics from the Israel Ministry of Tourism indicate that almost 242,000 tourists entered the country in June 2012, which is a 6% increase over the previous year. Visitors from the Far East rose by 26%, while visitors from the Americas rose about 8%.

The increase in tourism is reflected in a 13% increase in overnights in Jerusalem hotels and 7% in Tiberius.

The positive numbers in tourism are good for Israel’s economy, but make it more difficult, though not impossible to find accommodations. Planning and booking a group tour early is the best way to beat the crowds. Discipleship Travel LLC is happy to help you plan your group’s next visit to Israel.

HT: Israel Ministry of Tourism and Sar-El.