New data suggests that the current Israel-Hamas conflict has significantly impacted international travel, with repercussions felt globally by the aviation industry.
Data from the travel analysis firm ForwardKeys reveals a notable decline in international flight bookings since the onset of the conflict, particularly in the Americas, as people have canceled trips to the Middle East and beyond.
In the wake of the attack by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7, 2023, which resulted in 1,400 casualties, Israel has responded with air and ground strikes on Gaza, leading to over 10,000 Palestinian casualties.
“This Israel-Hamas conflict is a catastrophic, heartbreaking, human tragedy that we are all seeing daily on our TV screens,” said Olivier Ponti, Vice President of Insights at ForwardKeys, in a statement on November 10, 2023. “It is bound to put people off traveling to the region, but also has dented consumer confidence in traveling elsewhere, too.”
Back in July 2023, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism had declared that 12% more American travelers had visited Israel in 2023 thus far than had by the same point in 2019.
In the three weeks following the attack, international flight bookings from the Americas dropped by 10% in comparison to the previous three weeks.
Similarly, the Middle East witnessed a 9% decrease in international flight tickets issued. Overall, international flight bookings have plummeted by 26% to the region and 5% across different regions, impacting the global rebound in travel post-pandemic.
According to Ponti, bookings one day before the attack indicated that global air travel in the last quarter of 2023 would recover to 95% of 2019 levels. However, by late October 2023, this outlook had fallen to 88%.