More than 100,000 tourists are currently touring Israel. How is Israel's 'operation pillar of defense' affecting tourism?
A press release from Israel's Tourism Ministry says that the tourist sites in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Nazareth are bustling with tourists. There are no significant reports of departures by tourists and only a few cancellations have been made.
From Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov:
“The continued firing on the south and the resulting Operation Pillar of Defense, is only affecting tourism in a minimal way for the moment. The Tourism Ministry is making preparations for the economic rehabilitation of the region when the operation ends and has formulated a package of incentives and benefits for tourism service providers in the region who have been affected. We will be here after the operation has finished in order to help the residents who are displaying such bravery. They give us the courage to be victorious and we will not forget them the day after.”
Regarding advanced bookings:
Several cruise ships have canceled their planned arrival in Israeli ports and groups from various international destinations have postponed their trips to Israel. At present the ministry cannot calculate the scope of the damage for the tourism industry over the long term.
The Tourism Ministry set up a situation room over the weekend that receives constant updates.
The Ministry states that, to date, there has not been any damage in populated areas beyond a 40 kilometer radius from Gaza. The IDF is involved in operational activity in the south of Israel, a safe distance from the traditional tourist routes and sites and guidelines for tourists from the home front command are available and have been distributed to hotels.