Israel's tourist industry surprised at US warning

Israel Tourist and Travel Agents Association: Israel has much lower crime rates than the West.

“We intend to inquire what caused the Americans to publish a travel warning for tourists wanting to visit Israel. Only then will we publish a response,” said Minister of Tourism Avraham Hirchson today, in response to the travel warning for Israel published by the State Department.

The travel warning did not cite security problems, but criminal ones in a number of Israeli cities. US sources claim that Israel is considered a dangerous criminal state, and visits to it should be avoided.

The US travel warning astonished many Israeli tourism sources. Israel Tourist and Travel Agents Association managing director Yossi Fatael called the travel warning astonishing, since Israel had much lower crime rates, compared with the West. Consequently, the travel warning will undoubtedly have no effect on incoming tourism. He said the travel warning seemed more like an attempt by some groups to cover any eventuality. Warnings of this kind are issued almost daily, and updated every day.

Tourism sources said the timing of the US travel warning was very odd, since the number of tourists entering Israel, especially from the US, has grown over the past year. This growth has induced Delta Airlines to resume flights to Israel Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. will also shortly initiate daily flights between Israel and the US. Other airlines consider Israel to be among their most profitable destinations, because of high demand.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 1, 2006

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