Revealing the tourism market in Israel amid the escalating conflict

The streets stretching into the Old City of Jerusalem, which has hidden tourism potential, have become quieter than ever. An area of just 1 square kilometer located in East Jerusalem contains many sacred sites for many pilgrims. Amid the escalation of the Hamas – Israel conflict, the question of whether it is safe to travel to Israel has become the focus of many worries of tourists planning to visit this Middle Eastern country.

Photo: Kayak

In 2023, Israel expects tourism to play a major role in both its economic recovery from the epidemic and its demonstration of its determination to make peace with the rest of the world. This Middle Eastern nation anticipated a year of great tourism and had intended to draw in visitors from Asia, but everything vanished following the attack of Hamas on October 7.

Before the conflict broke out, tourists from all over the world used to flock to this location, jostling each other in the narrow alleys. However, the third week of the fighting has had a serious impact on this region’s tourism sector. Travelers scrambled to get out of the nation and rescheduled their excursions, which were previously for sightseeing in this ancient country.

Locals’ livelihoods are the first and most obviously disrupted in areas of conflict. However, the danger persists there. Many analysts predict that all war scenarios will lead to record-high oil prices, increased inflation, and slower global economic development. In the worst circumstances, a barrel of oil may cost USD 150 worldwide. In 2024, global inflation is expected to reach 6.7%, far higher than the IMF’s current prediction of 5.8%.

Is traveling to countries bordering Israel a safe choice?

Egypt shares a border with the Gaza Strip but is not involved in the current conflict. There are still flights to and from Egypt operated by airlines and travel companies. Rather than flying across Israel’s airspace, the flight path will now go over Italy and the Mediterranean Sea.

However, there is a warning that tourists should not visit the locations within 20 kilometers of the Egypt – Libya border. In particular, cancellation occurs with all non-essential trips to the northern and southern Sinai Peninsula, eastern Ismailiya province, most of the western desert, the Hala’ib triangle, and Bir Tawil.

If tourists still plan to go to Egypt, they can consider many resorts in the Red Sea area such as Sharm El Sheik City or Hurghada City because these two cities are far from the border with Israel. Moreover, the Jordan Tourism Board would also like to emphasize that Jordan, which shares a western border with Israel and a northern border with Syria, is still a safe and friendly destination for tourists from around the world. Nevertheless, border gates into Israel may be closed at short notice, so travelers should check with local authorities in advance. Popular Jordanian destinations such as Petra and Amman are not recommended for travel restrictions. Many leading airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Tui, and Wizz, continue to operate flights to Jordan from Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports.

Where to visit in Israel?

Aroma Espresso Bar, a trendy coffee shop, is located between The Hebrew University in Jerusalem campus and a large hospital complex. The restaurant is located at the top of Scopus Mountain at an altitude of 834m above sea level. This is a favorite place for professors, and lecturers, and an ideal destination for domestic and international tourists to sip a cup of coffee and enjoy delicious fast food.

It can be said that for the past 20 years the cafe, which is a paradise where Palestinians and Israelis can coexist, has provided a unique atmosphere in a city deeply divided by racism and religious discrimination. Although most of the staff are Palestinian, the ownership of the cafe which is a part of a more-than-200-stores-chain is Israeli, and a portion of the profits go to the military.

Although recent tensions have somewhat affected the work environment, the staff at Aroma Espresso Bar absolutely do not discuss any of the events. As a result, this is regarded as one of the few tranquil locations in the Middle East where Israelis and Palestinians may live in harmony.

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