Travel to Israel Remains Strong Despite Crisis

Bookings to Israel are staying solid despite the turmoil in parts of the Middle East, according to Ady Gelber, owner and CEO of IsramWorld.

"I returned yesterday from Israel," said Gelber. "And I want U.S. agents and their clients to know that Israel's hotels are full, tourism sites are full, restaurants are hopping, and Ben Gurion International Airport is operating entirely normally, with some 75 airlines - including three U.S. airlines — flying tens of thousands of travelers in and out of Israel every day."

Since demonstrations began seven weeks ago in Tunisia, momentous events have occurred in the Middle East, but Israel, and tourism to Israel, is not affected in any way, said Gelber. "Except, that some tour operators have switched their Egypt bookings to Israel."

2010 was the best year ever for tourism to Israel, and advance bookings indicate that 2011 will be even better, Gelber reported.

"The uncertainty of what is happening in Bahrain and Libya and elsewhere is unnerving, but it is also tremendously exciting, for if, once the smoke clears, these countries are truly transformed into Western-style democracies, it will be a phenomenal transformation benefiting their populations, the Middle East as a whole and the United States," Gelber said. "Israel is a beacon of democracy, normalcy and calm in a sometimes chaotic neighborhood. Our priority is always protecting our clients' well-being and security as we provide them with the vacation of a lifetime."