Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov says Tel Aviv’s war on Gaza has led to a dramatic drop in the number of tourists in November 2012 compared to the same month last year. Misezhnikov said during Israel’s Operation of Pillar of Defense in November, tourism has dropped some 43 percent.
He reiterated that the tourism was heading for a 12 percent rise in November over the same month in 2011, before Israel launched its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.The Israeli minister blamed the Operation of Pillar of Defense-inflicted damage on tourism industry’s efforts to attract tourists, particularly Russian tourists. To that end Misezhnikov is set to head to Moscow for a three-day visit to meet Russia’s senior tour operators in an effort to revitalize Russian tourists’ visit to Israel. On November 14, Israel launched a deadly offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip, which killed over 160 Palestinians and injured some 1,200 others. In retaliation, Palestinian resistance fighters incessantly poured rockets and missiles onto Israeli cities, killing at least five Israelis, including one soldier. AO/PKH