Middle East

Israel has become isolated like North Korea because of the Gaza war, chamber of tourism says – Middle East Monitor

Israel has become isolated, like North Korea, with dozens of companies reluctant to fly there after the outbreak of the war on the Gaza Strip, Director General of the Chamber of Inbound Tourism Organisers Yossi Fattal, has said.

The chamber is considered the representative body in the field of inbound tourism and includes most of the travel agents working in this field.

In an interview with Israel’s Maariv newspaper yesterday evening, Fattal said: “Before the crisis, there were 250 airline companies operating in Israel, and now only 45 companies are operating.”

“Israel is currently completely isolated from the world. Eighty per cent of flights today are operated by aircraft from Israel belonging to the [Israeli] El Al company.”

With regard to aviation, we have become one of the most isolated countries in the world, like North Korea.

He considered this “an unfortunate victory for Hamas over Israel,” emphasising that “the war is harming Israel’s strategic image.”

“Israel should have created a situation in which it found a way to facilitate and encourage tourists to come here despite the war,” said Fattal.

“Jordan and Egypt, which are also affected, finance the airlines that bring tourists to them. Today, Israel does not fund insurance for foreign airlines, only Israeli ones.”

“The insurance premiums required to travel to Israel are enormous,” he noted.

Fattal also said, “From the day the main phase of the war ends, it will take at least half a year to restore the country’s image and the return of airlines,” adding that “it will take two or three years for the tourism sector in Israel to recover.”

Inbound tourism to Israel has declined significantly since the beginning of the war. Some 900,000 tourists were expected to arrive during the first three months of the war, but the actual number shrank to only 190,000, according to a previous report by Israeli economic website Calcalist published in January.

READ: Tourism in Israel grew in 2023, but slumped after start of war

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