The Tourism Ministry launched a campaign on Thursday encouraging Israelis to take a vacation – in Israel.
With Operation Protective Edge in its fourth week, the tourism sector in Israel has been battered. According to an estimate by Psagot investments, the operation could cost the tourism industry NIS 3.5 billion should the operation reach the length of the 34-day Second Lebanon War. About a third of organized tour groups have canceled their trips due to the rockets.
“I know it’s not an easy time in hard days such as these to think about a family vacation,” said Tourism Minister Uzi Landau.
Most people have a family member in the reserves, and the casualties weigh on the country, he said.
August is a popular time for traveling abroad, especially as children’s summer activities draw to a close and parents try to fill the time before the new school year. Despite the rockets, some Israelis may be wary of leaving the country.
Thousands of vacationers were stranded abroad last week when a rocket landed about 1.6 km. from Ben-Gurion Airport, causing most international airlines to halt operations in and out of Israel for several days.
The six-week campaign will cost the government roughly NIS 6.2 million. The campaign tag line roughly translated as, “Of all times, now – vacation in Israel,” includes a dedicated website that provides special deals for lodging and restaurants in areas hard-hit by the conflict.
For those nervous about falling rockets, they can book and pay for rooms now and use them later, an option that would provide cash flow to the stricken businesses.