Israel-Hamas conflict: Will guided tours of Holy Land be canceled or delayed?

Tourism is a big part of the economy in Israel, Palestine

(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell) (Jon Gambrell, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A bucket list item for many travelers around the world is to pay a visit to religious sites and monuments in Israel and Palestine, otherwise known as the Holy Land.

But since the war between Israel and Hamas started on Oct. 7, it’s fair to wonder how those who have planned trips or tours in the region will be affected.

In short, they will be affected greatly, according to Travel Weekly.

Various tour operators and companies have either canceled or delayed tours through November or for the remainder of 2023, with further assessment taking place for tours scheduled in 2024.

Even if tours are resumed in 2024, cancellations or delays from 2023 that are rescheduled could have a big effect.

Travelers who were on trips on Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked have been evacuated from the country, according to the article.

Tours to neighboring Egypt and Jordan are still running, even with concerns about what’s going on in Israel and Gaza.

Ronen Paldi, president of Ya’lla Tours, said 230 guests managed to get out of Israel the Monday after the attack on Oct. 7.

Paldi and others who run tourist companies will keep monitoring the situation, but it looks as if more trips will be delayed or canceled in the coming weeks with the war continuing.

“The expectation is for a longer war than usual,” Paldi said. “Possibly several weeks.”

Continued cancellations of tours and less tourists would be devastating for business owners in the region — especially in the West Bank where Bethlehem is — who rely on travelers spending money there to drive their economy and provide jobs.

According to Reuters, hotels in Israel and Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank have emptied considerably and cruise ships are avoiding Israel.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.