After Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel in October, tourism in the country collapsed. About 90% fewer people visited the country. Israel’s tourism industry hopes to return to normal soon and reward travelers with attractions and discounts.

For many travelers, Israel is a fascinating destination with a mix of culture, history and nature. With a population of only 9.4 million, the country had 4.55 million travelers in 2019.

But just as tourism began to recover from the coronavirus, one of the worst terrorist attacks in history hit the country.

Tourists stay away

Although many Israelis bury relatives and acquaintances or fear for the lives of hostages, there is no normality. This also applies to tourism in Israel. Although many hotels, rooms, restaurants and tourist attractions remained open, travel became more difficult as several airlines, including Lufthansa, suspended flights to the Jewish state. In addition, many travel providers and states have expressed safety concerns.

The situation is very unstable. An escalation of the conflict cannot be ruled out. Like locals, tourists must follow the instructions of the authorities.

90% drop in tourism to Israel

As a result, the number of visitors to Israel fell by 90% in November compared to 2022. While 369,800 tourists visited Israel in the same month last year, only 38,300 visited in the month after the terrorist attack. Ministry of Tourism.

The consequences are dire for people who earn their living from tourism, even though there are government subsidies for the sector to support tour operators and service providers during the war. Tourism is not the most important sector of the economy for Israel, but it is important. It contributes about 3% to the gross domestic product and about 6% of the workforce is directly or indirectly employed in tourism, out of a total of 230,000 people.

Direct flight for 80 euros

“Of course we understand the reluctance of tourists, especially because Israel is currently being described by foreign media as a less than ideal travel country.” However, by the end of the year there was already little clarity. Travel to the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is on the rise again, but Masada and the Dead Sea are also in high demand, Julius reports. In addition, some airlines, including Lufthansa, will resume routes to Tel Aviv in January.

It is also expected to attract budget travelers. Tours are advertised locally at a discount, and due to low interest, direct flights from Germany to Israel and back are currently available for €80. However, more passengers returned in December, with a year-on-year decline of only 80% (52,800 passengers in December 2023 , 266,200 in December 2022).

Israel’s tourism industry attracts visitors with affordable prices

Postpone planned visits instead of canceling them

However, they don’t want to do business with war; The so-called ‘dark tourism’ is currently unresolved. As a reminder, about a year and a half ago, a tour operator caused a stir in Ukraine by offering tours of “hero cities,” cities like Bucha and Arpin, which are responsible for some of the worst Russian military massacres against Ukraine. urban population.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has advised tour operators around the world to postpone rather than cancel their plans. Nevertheless, Israel still has significant interest as a tourist destination.

Especially since most travelers will concentrate on cities and tourist centers and will be less likely to travel to conflict zones, and in those cities, as the war in the Middle East continues, some normality will return. Experts expect a large-scale return of tourism by spring at the latest.

Tourism in Israel is centered around Passover.

Spring is important for tourism in Israel. The country often experiences a tourist boom, especially during the Easter holidays. 18.8% of travelers to Israel cite religious reasons, the majority of which are Christian. They want to be in Jerusalem to follow the path of Jesus on the day of Jesus’ death and on the Day of Resurrection.

With the cross on their backs, many people headed for what would be Jesus’ final farewell in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Jerusalem is by far the country’s top tourist destination; approximately 80% of all travelers to Israel visit the historic site. In addition to the climatically favorable months of May, October and November, March and April are the most popular among tourists.

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