Eilat tourism sector unfazed by attack

Mayor: We won't let the forces of evil disrupt our lives.

By RON FRIEDMAN
August 3, 2010 00:05
3 minute read.
Eilat

Eilat . (photo credit: ar)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

While it might be expected that rockets exploding in a major tourism city during peak season would be a cause for concern or even panic for those whose livelihoods depend on drawing in visitors, Eilat’s tourism professionals, it appears, are made of tougher stuff.

In interviews with The Jerusalem Post mere hours after a rocket fell on the southern city on Monday morning, industry leaders signaled business as usual.

“There is no cause for panic and no need to stir a commotion that might topple the tourism industry. Eilat is registering high demands from both local and foreign tourists. At this stage what we need is to resolve the security issue using the normal measures at our disposal while cooperating fully with the Egyptian and Jordanian authorities,” said Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov.

“Many tourism-based countries confront similar difficulties and do not suffer as a result.”

Meseznikov’s office said that the minister and his staff were in contact with hotel and tourism professionals in Eilat and so far there had been no cancellations or unexpected departures.

The ministry has also instructed Israeli tourism representatives in other countries to convey a message of calm and control to put potential tourists at ease and avoid any long-term damage that could result.

Shabtai Shai, director general of the Eilat Hotels Association, said that in the short term he thought the missile landing would have no effect, but that hoteliers would have to work hard to make sure that the upcoming fall and winter seasons didn’t fall flat.

“At the moment Eilat is full of Israelis and, as we all know, it takes more than a couple of missiles to scare them away. The real question is what will happen with the foreign tourists that are now planning their winter vacations and may think twice before deciding to come to Eilat,” said Shai.

“Assuming that the firing was a single and isolated incident, what I anticipate is that we will see some cancellations here and there, but not a wide-scale movement or trend. Judging by past experience, we won’t be facing a major problem. Of course if more missiles fall here, the effect could be devastating.”

Shai said that in the past, Eilat was always considered a safe place, immune from the terrorist attacks experienced by other Israeli cities. Now it was difficult to say what the future would bring.


“In any case, for us in the tourism industry, it means we will have to work extra hard to promote Eilat abroad,” said Shai.

“While it’s too early to say, what measures the industry will take, it is certain that we will have to convince people that it is worth it to come here.”

Ami Etgar, director-general of the Incoming Tour Operators Association, said that he didn’t think the missile explosion would have any effect on incoming tourists.

“Terrorism attacks on tourism destinations are not new. Other places around the world have experienced terrorism and continued to flourish. This is not a game changer,” said Etgar.

Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi also signaled that things in the city were carrying on as normal.

“Life continues on track. We will not allow the forces of evil to disrupt our lives,” he said.

The mayor’s spokeswoman said that the atmosphere in the city was positive.

“The beaches are packed. The hotels are fully booked. Flights are arriving on their normal schedule. Everything is as it should be,” she said. “Just to show you how at ease the residents are, I can report that out municipal hotline received five complaints today about unrelated issues. Residents who are nervous or concerned do not make those sorts of calls.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

El Al
August 16, 2014
The Travel Adviser: For El Al, mission accomplished

By MARK FELDMAN