Israel-Hamas War Causing Ripple Effects for the Travel Industry

As the war in Israel and the Palestinian Territories continue, around 5,000 people have died and 1.5 million civilians have been displaced, creating a humanitarian crisis extending far beyond the borders of the two states. Not more important than the above, but the war is also creating ripples throughout the travel industry.

To start, cruise lines and tour operators are avoiding Israel for the time being—with some already canceling all visits to/departures from Israel through the end of 2023. Beyond that, however, nearby countries will also likely see a drop-off in visitation as travelers become more wary of the region.

Travel Agent reached out to numerous advisors to get their take and many told us they are seeing cancelations among their clients for Jordan and Egypt, as well as further destinations, including Morocco, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Other travel advisors said their clients were not just canceling visits to/near the Middle East—some had clients canceling trips to Spain and Portugal, as well.

One travel advisor said her clients (a mother and two adult daughters) recently canceled their Backroads trip to Peru, which would have begun November 5. “The family is Jewish. One woman’s husband is Israeli and six of his nieces and nephews were called for service in Israel. The wife doesn’t know how she’ll feel leaving her husband while she travels. They have travel insurance, but not cancel for any reason. If they cancel, they’re at 100 percent penalty,” she told us.

Similarly, another said, “Many of your Jewish clientele will be seeking to cancel trips to North Africa, Israel and the Gulf States, as well as Jordan. Likewise they’ll be looking to cancel any cruises that go near the Gulfs of Suez or Aqaba … It’s an abundance of caution, but we really can’t blame them.

“Likewise, Palestinians (in North America and Europe) are also canceling for similar reasons. I have a Palestinian friend whose mother was to be celebrating her 90th in Beit Jala (West Bank) next week. She’s canceled everything and told her children, siblings and grandkids to stay in the U.S., Canada and Europe—and there’s nothing other than some protests happening in the West Bank. But she’s worried, so about 45 people have canceled flights to [Tel Aviv] and [Amman, Jordan].”

A third advisor added that clients of hers canceled their Silversea cruise from Athens to Dubai via Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Oman on their own. Instead, they will be sailing from South America.

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