Operation Pillar of Defense
has adversely affected tourism, resulting in a 25% decline in tourist stays in December in Tel Aviv, a 24% decline in the Dead Sea and a 21% decline in Eilat.
While Eilat recorded a smaller drop in tourist stays than Tel Aviv, its impact will be felt longer, as the Israeli operation in Gaza has led to the cancellation of about half of the charter flights slated to bring thousands to tourists to the southern resort city from different destinations in Europe this winter.
According to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics and Israel Hotel Association, December saw an average drop of 14% in tourists' hotel stays and a 3% drop in Israelis' hotel stays.
The average occupancy in hotels across the country stood at 55%, down 8% from December 2011.
The figures also point to a 2% drop in tourists' hotel stays and a 4% increase in Israelis' hotel stays in December-January, while the average hotel occupancy was 66% - like in 2011.
A breakdown of the December data according to districts reveals that the drop in tourist stays was particularly significant in Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea and Eilat. Other areas, like the Galilee and Herzliya, suffered a 19% drop in tourist stays, while in the rest of the country the decline was more moderate.
The number of hotel stays by tourists and Israelis totaled about 22 million in 2012 – a 1% increase. The number of hotel rooms increased by 1%.