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.

Is it safe to drink the water in Israel?

Israel is a world leader in water technology, and the water is generally safe to drink.

While in the hotels it is usually okay to drink the filtered water that is served at meals. Also, it is generally safe to brush your teeth with the water in the hotel rooms. However, the safest course of action is to drink bottled water because your stomach may not be ready for microbes that are common for Israelis. (Likewise, Israelis may not be ready for microbes you have become accustomed to in the United States.)

We definitely recommend drinking only bottled water (i.e. no drinking fountains) while out touring. This will help ensure that you don’t need to stay behind for a day or more due to an upset stomach. Bottled water is available on your bus for a reasonable price. This makes it easy to get a few bottles for use in the hotel when you arrive for the evening, and then to refresh yourself throughout the day as needed.

The cost of bottled water is not included in the tour price and is the responsibility of the user. Each person may react differently to the various water sources available in Israel and is solely responsible for their decision to use or not use bottled water.

If you are on an extension to Egypt or Jordan, we suggest you use only bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth in those countries.