The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, which erupted in early October, has halted international tourism to Israel and severely blunted travel to neighboring countries in a ripple effect spreading across the entire Middle East.
While the slowdown in international visitors is only one of the war’s economic repercussions in the region, it poses a significant threat to the economies of Egypt, Jordan and other nations heavily dependent on tourism and has swiftly reversed a banner year of travel in the Middle East.
The war has affected all segments of the travel industry, with international travel operators scaling back or postponing excursions, cruise lines redeploying ships and airlines dramatically reducing service.
And many travelers, heeding government warnings and their own worries, are increasingly wary about visiting the region, prompting waves of cancellations.
“We foresaw the Middle East evolving into the ‘New Europe’ with the Iran-Saudi Arabia rapprochement and Saudi Arabia’s integration into the tourism system,” said Khaled Ibrahim, a Cairo-based consultant for Amisol Travel Egypt and a member of the Middle East Travel Alliance.
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Amisol Travel, East Travel Alliance, UNESCO
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