Israeli tourism remains in post October 7 ‘state of collapse’

Most international airlines have yet to restore service to Tel Aviv


LOD, ISRAEL - DECEMBER 25: People walk past posters of hostages displayed before entering the departures hall in the Ben Gurion Airport on December 25, 2023 in Lod, Israel. It has been more than two months since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas that prompted Israel's retaliatory air and ground campaign in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

(JNS) The Gaza war continues to take its toll on Israel's tourism industry, with the country seeing only 58,600 tourist visits in January, compared to the 257,400 tourists who visited during the same month last year, marking a nearly 80 per cent decrease.

According to monthly figures released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), only 500 single-day visits were registered, compared to 14,000 in January 2023, a 96 per cent decrease.

Also, far fewer Israelis are travelling abroad. In January 2024, 281,400 Israelis travelled to other countries, down from 611,100 in January 2023, a decrease of more than 50 per cent.

Last month, CBS released annual tourism numbers for 2023, which dropped off sharply toward the end of the year; the war broke out during the busiest tourism quarter of the year, which includes the Christmas holidays.

Only 3 million tourists came in 2023, compared to the 4 million that had been predicted. In 2019, Israel enjoyed a record-breaking year with 4.5 million tourists.

Following the outbreak of the war, most international airlines suspended flights to Israel, and the majority have yet to restore service.

The top 10 countries for incoming tourism last year were the United States, France, England, Russia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Poland, Canada and Spain.

Half the tourists were Christian and nearly a quarter were Jewish.

Fifty-seven percent of incoming tourists were first-time visitors, while 43 per cent had visited Israel more than once.

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