Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza causing Middle East tourism slump, says travel firm
LONDON: Tourism in the Middle East has been hit by a significant slump amid the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, it was reported on Friday.
Since the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas on Israel and the subsequent Israeli retaliation against the Palestinian enclave, flight bookings to Jordan are down by half, air ticket sales to Egypt are down by one-third and flights to Saudi Arabia are down 67 percent, data from Spanish travel analytics firm ForwardKeys showed.
In the three weeks before Oct. 7, travel to the Middle East had increased by 13 percent compared to the same period in 2019, but as of Friday (Nov. 10), it was down by 13 percent, The Independent newspaper reported.
The firm said the conflict was having a negative impact on aviation beyond the Middle East, with global air travel in the fourth quarter of the year predicted to drop by as much as 7 percent as a result of it.
“This war is a catastrophic, heartbreaking, human tragedy that we are all seeing daily on our TV screens,” Olivier Ponti, ForwardKeys vice president for insights, said.
“That is bound to put people off traveling to the region, but it has also dented consumer confidence in traveling elsewhere too,” he added.