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Israel’s war with Hamas is hitting tourism in the region. More flights are being cancelled

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Tourists are canceling flights to Jordan and Egypt en masse. They fear for their safety in the face of the war between Israel and Hamas. More than one third of groups that had already booked stays canceled their trip to Amman. In turn, Egypt asked the International Monetary Fund for help in the face of multi-billion losses in tourism. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not formally advise against traveling to Jordan or Egypt, it only recommends taking basic precautions.

This may be one of the cheaper tourist destinations this winter. The Jordanian authorities are doing everything to ensure that tourists continue to come to their country despite the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in its close proximity. – Just this morning I received word that six groups had canceled their stays. All offices in Amman are in a similar situation. Up to 35 percent of orders are canceled, says Mohammad Alkeswani, manager of a travel agency from Jordan.

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Jordan offers travel agencies and airlines subsidies of up to $22,000 for each flight bringing tourists. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not advise against traveling to Jordan. The official recommendation states that tourists should only take basic precautions and avoid all gatherings and demonstrations. – Jordan is one of the stops in the tourist triangle – a route that also includes Israel and Egypt – so the war in the Gaza Strip has a great, negative impact on the tourism industry in the entire region – emphasizes Mohammad Alkeswani.

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Unstable region

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against all travel to Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. One of the favorite destinations of Polish tourists – Egypt – is not on the blacklist. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs only advises against travel to certain parts of the country: the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip, and the areas near the border with Libya and Sudan. – So far we have not recorded a significant number of cancellations from Europe. We hear from travel agencies and airlines that people know the geopolitical situation and know that the Red Sea resorts are very far from what is happening in the region, says Ahmed Issa, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism.

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Not all Egyptian resorts are located far from the conflict – a stray rocket fell on Taba at the end of October, most likely fired from the Gaza Strip. Egypt, which does not have rich oil deposits, has already turned to the International Monetary Fund for help as it faces the loss of multi-billion dollar tourism revenues. – Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan. The war is already affecting these countries in many areas. These countries depend on tourism. Uncertainty is killing tourism, explains Kristalina Gieorgijewa, director of the International Monetary Fund.

A month has passed since the Hamas attack. The inhabitants of Israel honored the memory of those murdered in the pogromKatarzyna Sławińska/Fakty TVN

Collapse in tourism

For years, Egypt has been trying to revive tourism, which has suffered due to numerous terrorist attacks and the pandemic. Like Jordan, it subsidizes flights. New attractions are supposed to be a magnet. This season, tourists were to be attracted by, among others, the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, opened with great pomp and full of ancient treasures. – We are working out the last details. I think that by the end of the year the museum will be partially open to visitors. The official opening will take place within a few months. Most likely between February and May, says Ahmed Issa. The specter of the collapse of the tourism industry is another plague that has recently hit Egypt. The entire Middle East and Africa are suffering exceptionally badly from the food crisis caused by Russia. Ukrainian grain, which has fed developing countries for years, still has huge problems reaching consumers.

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