Tourism takes a hit in Israeli-Palestinian fighting

July 23, 2014, 11:03 PM UTC
ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT
An Israeli soldier inspects the damage at an house that was hit by a rocket fired by militants from the Gaza Strip, on July 22, 2014, in the Israeli town of Yahud, some 15 kms east of Tel-Aviv, near Ben Gurion International airport. The UN chief and Washington's top diplomat were holding a flurry of meetings in Cairo to push for an end to violence in Gaza that has killed more than 590 Palestinians. AFP PHOTO/GIL COHEN-MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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.