Although some media sources are making it seem that the airport in Tel Aviv is closed, we have received word from our partners in Israel that Ben Gurion Airport is still up and running. Below are their letters to us, and we wanted to share these important updates.
July 23, 2014
On Monday, the U.S. State Department advised American citizens to consider deferring non-essential travel to Israel as a result of Operation Protective Edge, our current military engagement with Hamas in Gaza. Please know that tourism is continuing, and hotels, restaurants, tourist sites and holy places are open as usual. And it is important to understand that no ban has been proposed, but the State Department has urged Americans to “consider” the situation.
Yesterday, the FAA imposed a 24-hour embargo on U.S. airlines’ flights to Israel, and several European airlines have followed suit. Please know, however, that flights by British Airways, El Al Israel Airlines, Arkia Israel Airlines and Israir are continuing as scheduled. Indeed, we expect all Israeli airlines to add additional flights to absorb passengers from cancelled flights.
Please know that life in Israel, and tourism to Israel, goes on and we welcome all visitors in peace. Some 75,000 tourists are in the country, and their travel arrangements are proceeding as planned.
We foresee the current conflict ending soon – and that all will return speedily to normal. The Ministry of Tourism in North and South America is at your service to respond to inquiries, concerns, and to restoring “business as usual” very soon.
ISRAEL TOURISM COMMISSIONER
NORTH & SOUTH AMERICA
July 23, 2014
After receiving last night’s news of US and European flight cancellations, we wanted to reach out to you, our partners and friends.
To begin with, we are happy to share with you that Ben Gurion Airport is still up and running and accepting all incoming flights as per routine. Additionally, El Al, Iberia, British Airways and others continue to fly in and out and passengers are still landing in Israel.
El Al, Israel’s national carrier, has released a statement stating that they will fly to and from Israel, no matter the circumstances. To show solidarity with Israel, and to protest the FAA flight ban, former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, flew to Israel last night on El Al.
We again advise you to encourage your clients to wait and see before making any decisions on upcoming trips.
As a last note, we want to add that despite what the international media portrays, we here in Israel are continuing life as usual. Our children are in the midst of summer vacation. We are enjoying the unseasonably mild temperatures, and all cultural institutions are running as per schedule.
Looking forward to hearing from you and welcoming your clients to Israel.