Fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip has prompted the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to warn that Canadians planning to visit Israel should exercise “a high degree of caution” (http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/israel-the-west-bank-and-the-gaza-strip) .
Tour operators are also watching developments, with at least one – Collette – cancelling a planned September tour.
Meanwhile, Jerry Adler, Canadian spokesman for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, told PressToday the country is still safe for tourists and said his department expects things will be resolved quickly.
However, Adler said the ministry also understands that many people will want to postpone imminent Israel trips. He conceded that the fighting “is taking its toll” on Israel’s tourist trade, but predicted that it will “bounce back.”
Ami Allon (pictured, left), Consul for Tourism, Israel Government Tourist Office, Canada, said, “The safety and well-being of visitors is paramount. We continue to monitor the situation very closely and are confident that it will be resolved quickly. Israel is well prepared and committed to handling all scenarios. If we thought for a moment that tourist/visitors coming to Israel right now was not appropriate, we’d have no hesitation in simply suggesting that any trip be postponed taking a wait and see approach until traveller confidence and sense of normalcy returns should the situation call for it.”
Haim Gutin (pictured, right) , Israel Tourism Commissioner, North & South America, commented, “Please know that life in Israel, and tourism to Israel, goes on and we welcome all visitors in peace. Some 75,000 tourists are in the country and their travel arrangements are proceeding as planned.”
He added, “We foresee the current conflict ending soon – and that all will return speedily to normal. The Ministry of Tourism in North and South America is at your service to respond to enquiries, concerns, and to restoring ‘business as usual’ very soon.”
The fighting has prompted Air Canada and at least 10 other airlines to temporarily suspend Tel Aviv service. Adler said “such actions are typically very short-lived.”