Declining

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The crisis in Syria is negatively affecting the region’s tourism according to new research outlined in an article from Skift, which suggests interest in travelling to the region as a whole has almost halved from pre-Syrian civil war figures.

Hotel comparison site Trivago.co.uk, released figure showing that the number of people looking for places to stay in countries neighbouring Syria had decreased by an average of 47%, year-on-year. The countries experiencing the largest drop in searches were Lebanon (79%), followed by Cyprus (55%), Israel (38%), Jordan (32%) and finally by tourist favourite Turkey with 31%.

Nervous Travellers

It is understandable that travellers are nervous about travel to the region, with the crisis in Syria still dominating the international headlines. When the US recently announced its previous (although now temporarily aborted) plan to launch an attack against Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, the region’s tourism numbers dropped especially sharply.

This has included neighbouring Jordan, which has experienced a distinct drop in booking despite being a very different and much less troubled country. Images of Syrian refugees spilling over into Jordan have obviously given potential tourists doubts about the country’s security situation. In fact, travellers’ perceptions of safety in Jordan have become so distorted that the country’s national tourism board has recently launched a digital campaign to regain travellers perceptions of Jordan as a safe place to visit.

Boost for Dubai and Oman Tourism

However, all is not bad news for those Middle East countries slightly further afield from troubled Syria. According to long-haul specialists Trailfinders, while bookings to countries close to Syria such as Jordan and Lebanon were down, there had been a surge of interest in trips elsewhere, such as Dubai and Oman.

The drop in interest in trips to the countries surrounding Syria has also led to significant decreases in hotel room rates in the region, Trivago.co.uk reported.

Room Rates Dropping

In the Lebanese capital Beirut the average hotel price (now £106) dropped 20% per cent compared to this time last year. Also, the average hotel price in Tel Aviv, Israel (£125) had decreased 12% from September 2012. Hotel prices in Jordan have also decreased: Aqaba City is 24% cheaper (£81 per night)in September, and Amman is down by 6% to £85.

So despite UK Foreign Office warnings against travel to Syria and most of its neighbours, intrepid travellers can nevertheless find good deals if they dare to venture forth.

 

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