MOSCOW, November 19 (Itar-Tass) — More and more Russian citizens give up tours to Israel, spokeswoman for the Russian Union of Tourism Industry (RST) Irina Tyurina said on Monday.
Tyurina said Russians even gave up tours that they booked for New Year.
She noted, “Last Friday, practically 24 hours after the situation deteriorated in the Middle East tour operators had to state that tourists were giving up the tours to Israel.”
“The tours are being cancelled for the nearest flights, as well as for the following dates and even for the New Year, assuming that the New Year tours were 70-75 percent sold,” the spokeswoman stressed.
“Those who give up trips to Israel the following dates tour operators propose an alternative: to go there where it is warm now and where it is possible to fly quickly. Tour operators propose to ‘freeze’ the tour and watch the situation in Israel. If all is right, tourists will be able to go to Israel. But there are companies, which tell clients as there are no recommendations from the Foreign Ministry and Rostourism [the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism] they won’t cancel tours, return money and propose the alternative direction,” Tyurina pointed out.
In her view, “the situation cannot be considered the failure. Tours are given up and their number increases.” At the same time, Tyurina said, “No Russian tourist, who is resting in Israel, asks for help. No tourist wishes to interrupt their holiday.”
She recalled that the Israeli Ministry of Tourism circulated information saying over 100,000 foreign tourists were staying in the country.
The Israeli ministry said the authorities ensured security to tourists because the Israeli security forces conducted the military operation in the south, in a safe distance away all tour itineraries and sightseeing sites.
Israeli Ambassador to Russia Dorrit Golender said on Friday, November 16, that the situation in the country was calm. She recalled that the security system in Israel functioned well. She also advised tourists to follow the Israeli authorities’ recommendations.