As conflict arises around Israel, we receive many questions from tour hosts and travelers. My hope is that this letter will help answer those questions for you and those in your group.
We are monitoring the situation in Israel very closely by watching the news and keeping in contact with our office partners in Israel and throughout the Middle East. We are also in constant communication with Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. Our greatest concern is your group’s safety and we will continually communicate with you as changes arise.
The media often paints an incorrect picture. Neither the Israeli government, nor the US State Department, recommends cancelling travel to Israel. They do recommend deferring travel to Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Our groups do not and have never visited or included Gaza as part of our programs. We do not have any of our travelers / groups go anywhere near Gaza and have no reasons to do so. All sites are open and these groups are continuing with normal sightseeing. In fact, Israel set another record increase in tourism for the month of June and is set to do the same in July. Right now, we do not foresee the need for any groups to consider postponing their scheduled travel plans. Past experience shows that these conflicts in Israel are over very quickly. The longest one lasted 28 days back in 2006.
The latest update from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism states:
July 21, 2014
Re : Events in Israel
In reply to questions regarding tourist arrivals to Israel, we recommend noting the following points.
Headlines about Operation Protective Edge can be alarming, but the reality is that: Currently there are more than 70,000 overseas tourists traveling, enjoying the attractions, weather and surroundings throughout Israel. Yes, there are cancellations, but groups and individuals continue to arrive daily and they feel safe and enjoy themselves, according to their testimonials.
Flights by some 90 airlines in and out of Israel are operating as normal. Ben Gurion Airport takes extra precautions to guarantee the safety of all passengers onboard aircraft upon approach and departure from Israel, thus the slight delays in the timetable.
Tourism sites, museums, holy places and attractions are open and operating.
The Ministry of Tourism is in contact with all relevant authorities to answer all questions which may arise.
For more detailed information please contact the Israel Government Tourism Office in your area. A list of the Offices is located in the site: www.goisrael.com.
Welcome to Israel.
Senior Deputy Director General
The safety and well-being of visitors is paramount. Israel is well prepared and committed to handling all scenarios. If we thought for a moment that travel to Israel now was not appropriate, we’d have no hesitation in simply suggesting you postpone your trip.
Up-to-date information on travel and security in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
Thank you for your time and for trusting us with your travel needs. I ask you to pray for peace in Israel and for the people of Gaza, caught in the middle of the conflict.
President, imagine Tours & Travel