Israel's tourist trade in freefall after 14 months of unrest
Israel's once lucrative tourist trade dropped off by two thirds in the first nine months of the year as fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinians exploded, the tourism ministry said Sunday, November 25.
The number of overnight stays in Israel dropped by a monthly average of 65 percent over the entire period. Last year, the average number of nights spent by visitors in Israeli hotels per month rose to 963,000 from January to September. In 2001 the number peaked at 338,000 and has tapered off in recent months.
The drop in tourism, even more marked in the Palestinian territories, started as soon as the Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, against Israeli occupation started in September 2000.
The crisis has led to a wave of redundancies: 15,000 out 36,000 jobs in the hotel industry, and up to 60,000 out of 220,000 jobs lost across the sector. And of 350 hotels in the country, 25 have had to close their doors. — (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)