The number of tourists visiting Israel in the first seven months of 2001 fell more than half from a year earlier, as violence from the Palestinian uprising scared visitors away, the tourism ministry said Thursday, August 23.
The first seven months of the year attracted 807,000 people to the country, a decline of 54 percent from a record high in the 2000 period. For July, alone, numbers were down 56 percent from a year earlier.
Tourism was down even more sharply in the Palestinian territories — where many religious sites are located — and which have borne the brunt of the violence that erupted last September.
The United States advised its citizens on August 10 to avoid traveling to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza Strip, where more than 730 people have been killed in shootings, bomb attacks and clashes.
The crisis has wrought devastation on Israel's important tourism sector, with 25 of the country's 350 hotels shutting down and up to 60,000 out of 220,000 jobs in the tourism business as a whole being slashed. (AFP, Jerusalem
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )