Israel announces it's open for tourism, while US and Canada advise caution: What should tourists know?

While the tourist spots here were often packed in the past, the conflict in the region has brought down the number of tourists considerably. Representative image/iStock/kirill4mula

Amid the ongoing conflict in the region, Israel has announced that it's open for business and safe for tourism.  Many airlines have announced the resumption of direct flights to the country in the Middle East that were suspended due to the escalation of tension.

Air India has announced that it would resume its non-stop flights (five times a week) from Delhi to Tel Aviv from May 16. The flights were initially suspended after the attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. Though services were resumed on March 3, they were suspended again due to the Iran-Israel conflict.

Israel has announced that the Ben Gurion airport, the busiest in the country, is fully operational and cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Galilee region and places like Dead Sea are fully active day and night.
However, in view of the escalation of the bombardments in Gaza and the possibility of another regional conflict, the Canadian government has advised its citizens against non-essential travel to the country due to the 'unpredictable security situation' in the region. The US State Department too has asked its citizens to exercise caution, especially near checkpoints and areas with a large security presence.

India has not issued any such advisory and many visitors are travelling to the country to see historical sites. Tibin Thomas of Oasis Tours India Pvt Ltd, who often takes tourists to Israel on Holyland trips, tells Onmanorama that he has not faced any security issues in visiting places that have been mentioned in the holy scriptures. 

'Tourist spots are safe'
According to Tibin, many Indian tour operators restarted their Israel tours in January. "We began in April and have taken five groups so far. We haven't faced any security issues at any point." He is currently touring the region with a 95-member group and says more tourists from India are travelling to the region of late.

"Last month, when the Iran-Israel conflict broke out, we had a team touring the region. They came to know about the international skirmish only when they got calls from their relatives in India. In our experience, tourist spots here haven't been affected so far. We toured many spots like Jericho, Bethlehem and the Dead Sea, which fall in the West Bank controlled by the Palestine Authority," he says.

Churches close early, no crowds
While the tourist spots here were often packed in the past, the conflict in the region has brought down the number of tourists considerably, says Tibin. "Now, it's even easier to travel as there aren't too many people. The security point formalities are completed faster. There aren't any special checks either, compared to the past." However, the churches in the region close early these days as there are fewer visitors, he adds.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.