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Tourism takes a hit in Israeli-Palestinian fighting

A house outside of Tel Aviv damaged by a rocket fired from Gaza. Photo by Gil Cohen Magen—AFP/Getty Images

A ban by the Federal Aviation Administration on flights to Israel – and the ongoing fighting in Gaza – is starting to impact tourism to the Holy Land. That means pain for Israel’s tourist industry, although how much depends on who is estimating.

On the low-end, the potential losses for the summer travel season range from a conservative $100 million, according to a recent Fortune story, to a $200 million, according to Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Israel Hotel Association predicted that the country would have 280,000 fewer visitors during the third quarter because of the unrest. Tourism revenue, it said would decline 35% to $500 million.

El Al, Israel’s national carrier, has been expecting losses of millions of dollars, according to The New York Times. Tourists are also stranded and being forced to pay soaring ticket prices of over $800 more than usual, or $2,220 total. These figures are an estimate for July to September, the most popular time for travel in Israel. More than half of the country’s tourism revenue comes during that period, Israel’s largest hotel chain, Fattal, said in an Al Arabiya report.

Israel was expecting to welcome more tourists after a strong 2013 season, during which there were 3.5 million visitors who added over $12 billion to the country’s economy, according to Al Arabiya. Officials had expected 10% more in 2014.

These estimates, however, are likely to go out the window should the unrest continue long-term.