February 28, 2024

“These countries, immediate neighbors of Israel and Gaza, are more vulnerable to a slowdown in tourism, given concerns about security risks and social unrest amid high external vulnerabilities,” according to the report, published Nov. 6. “Further deepening of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza or a serious escalation in the West Bank could lead to a new wave of refugee flows that would burden economies in the region.”

In 2022, tourism accounted for about 3 percent of total earnings from abroad into Israel, making the nation considerably less reliant on the sector than neighboring countries. But international travel put some $5 billion into state coffers and indirectly employed about 200,000 people, according to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

Canceled cruises, changed itineraries

Many cruise lines and tour operators have canceled trips or revised itineraries that included Israel through the remainder of the year and it’s unclear when departures will resume. Intrepid Travel, a global tour company that offers more than 1,150 trips on every continent, shelved 47 departures to Israel this year, a company spokesperson said.

While Israel is a “fairly small destination” for Intrepid, the chief executive, James Thornton, said, that’s not the typical situation for other Middle East countries.

Normally, “Morocco, Jordan and Egypt would be in our top five destinations globally,” he said, adding that cancellations to these countries have spiked since the war began. About half of Intrepid’s customers who had booked trips to Egypt and Jordan scheduled to take place before the end of the year have since canceled or rescheduled, he said.