Israel’s tourist board has welcomed the UK government’s decision to relax its advisory around travelling to Jerusalem and says the country now has “remarkable” potential for tourism.
Earlier this week, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Israel. It no longer advises against all travel to the Old City of Jerusalem.
The FCO still advises against all travel to the Gaza Strip and areas around the borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Amir Halevi, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, wrote an open letter in which he said the country is among the safest in the world.
“In the past six months we have reached new heights with the vast growth of incoming tourists from abroad, together with an increase in hotel room capacity, and we expect a continuation of this positive trend.
“Both groups and individuals continue to arrive daily with the knowledge that their safety is secure.
“As one of the world’s leading cultural and religious centers [sic]. Israel also offers visitors a variety of famous sites and attractions that are open and easily accessible.
“Israel is one of the safest countries in the world and sees safety as a vital priority. Therefore, our visitors can enjoy easy and secure travel during their stay.
“With the ability of accommodating large numbers of participants, easily accessible transportation, state of the art conference facilities and events venues, the potential is remarkable.”
A spokeswoman for Go Israel said “We always welcome new tourism opportunities to Jerusalem & Israel. The recent update was for a specific period in time which has since finished” and added that a “major UK tour operator” recently visited Jerusalem and “thoroughly enjoyed their time”.
“We appreciate the FCO recommendations for UK tourism and always recommend tourists read the guidelines,” she said.
The FCO’s website says: “The security situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories can be fast moving, tense and unpredictable. You should be vigilant at all times and keep up to date with local media and travel reports.”
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