Skift Take

When it comes to being a tourist destination, Israel has the advantage of being Israel: It will continue to draw visitors from the deep pool of travelers who have religious or ideological ties to the state.

Tourists continue to arrive in Israel and take off on tours despite an escalation in fighting throughout Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza over the past week.

Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport remains open to tourists and the Israel Ministry of Tourism states on its website: “More than 80 airlines are operating at their normal schedules to and from Israel. There are currently more than 100,000 tourists vacationing in Israel and there are no signs whatsoever that visitors are cutting their trips short.”

Cancellations are expected to rise if the violence continues into a second week.

Israel seems focused on assuring tourists that they will safe in major tourists zone. “As hard as it may seem to comprehend from thousands of miles away, the current situation has little effect on life in most of Israel,” says the Ministry of Tourism.

International travel to Israel is at a current low due to the timing between major religious holidays. Tourism is expected to boom during the December holidays, but the entire industry will be severely impacted by cancellations should the rockets continue.

U.S. holds off on travel warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza

The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv issued a security message for U.S. citizens on November 19 stating, “U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise caution and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety and security in light of the escalating level of violence in Gaza and Israel.  U.S. citizens should pay close attention to their surroundings and news reports, and follow the civil defense guidance provided by the Home Front Command. ”

However, the U.S. Department of State has not issued a travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza since August 10, 2012.

The UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice on November 16 and warned against all but essential travel to areas within 25 miles of the border with Gaza.


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Tags: government, israel, safety

Photo credit: A street bazaar in the Old City of Jerusalem. Nborun /

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