Many tourists are seeking to shorten their vacations in Israel and leave the country as soon as possible, due to the ongoing rocket fire at the center of the country, Gush Dan and the growing feeling of a lack of security over the past two days.
Hoteliers told Ynet on Friday that tourists vacationing in the south of the country have been trying to move north, while tourists in the center of the country are asking to leave Israel altogether.
"It began with a guest here and a guest there, but has greatly intensified in the last two days," said Reuben Alex, CEO of Fattal Hotels.
"We have a lot of cancellations by tourists and even Israelis, due to IDF reservist call-ups," he said. "Many (tourists) wanted to leave, but are having problems as all the outgoing flights are full, and it's hard to find seats on the planes."
Alex added that for now, it is not yet a mass exodus, but the situation will become clearer after the weekend.
Another hotelier told Ynet on Thursday that that all the rosy predictions of another record year for Israeli tourism had been dashed.
"There's no more people leaving, but there has been a halt to reservations from abroad for groups from September to November, and cancellations from abroad have begun at a greater rate. It seems that we are not in for an easy time at all."
Tourism Ministry officials will meet Sunday with industry representatives for a briefing on the state of the hotels, cancellations and future reservations, as well as to discuss ways to minimize the impact and reduce the recovery time once the fighting ends.
Meanwhile, a Tourism Ministry survey of its representatives around the world found that cancellations had already begun in New York, albeit in limited numbers. El Al has, however, seen a complete halt in reservations for flights to Israel from Chicago, Atlanta and Canada (primarily among Jewish groups), as well as cancellations from South America and a number from England, France and Germany.
Rafi Sadeh, the CEO Dan Hotels also said Thursday that the situation did not look good, adding that there had been cancellations by businessmen, groups and individual travelers from abroad.
"If it ends in a day or two, then I expect an impact on the industry for a month to a month and a half. But if events continue for a few more days, the impact on the industry will be very long-term."