As the crisis in Gaza deepens, efforts to evacuate tourists from Israel have been heightened. On Monday, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship assisted in evacuating US nationals from Israel to Cyprus; meanwhile, US government charter flights continue operating out of Ben Gurion Airport (located near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem) to take American tourists home.
But while the current guidance says to postpone upcoming trips to Israel—and the threat of a ground invasion looms—what should travelers do about their travel plans to countries that border the conflict zones, like Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon?
After violence first erupted on October 7, the State Department issued a regional security alert throughout the Middle East on October 8, advising US citizens in certain countries to take caution. “Individuals should follow local government advice to increase their security awareness, avoid areas around demonstrations, and check local media for updates and traffic advisories,” the security bulletin stated. “US citizens who need assistance should contact the closest US embassy or consulate.”
Travelers have digested that advice in a number of ways—some canceling, and others staying the course. “Our tours in Jordan and Egypt are operating normally,” says Ashley Isaacs Ganz, founder and CEO of Artisans of Leisure travel agency, adding that none of her clients have canceled their tours to either destination.
Intrepid Travel, on the other hand, has seen “a slight increase in cancellations into Egypt and Jordan over the past week, with customers calling in to cancel due to safety concerns,” says Matt Berna, president of the Americas for the company, noting that other destinations in the much-wider Middle East and North Africa region—like Turkey and Morocco—have not been impacted.
Below, we cover everything travelers should know about traveling to Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt in the near future—including what the situation on the ground is, how travel agents are advising their clients, and how you can monitor the ever-changing situation from a travel perspective.
Should you travel to Jordan right now?
Tourist areas of Jordan, like Petra, Aqaba on the Red Sea, and the capital Amman, remain safe for travelers to visit.
“In light of the recent developments in Gaza, we want to emphasize that Jordan continues to be a safe and welcoming destination for tourists from around the world,” says a statement from the Jordan Tourism Board, according to the Times of London. “Our commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all visitors remains unwavering, and we want to reassure everyone that Jordan’s borders are open to tourists.”