The recent escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas has raised serious concerns for travelers who plan to visit Dubai or indeed anywhere Middle East. Business, public relations and tourism in that region will take a back seat in the short term.
The conflict, which started on Saturday, October 8, 2023, when Hamas launched a surprise attack on several sites in southern Israel, has resulted in hundreds of casualties, widespread destruction, international condemnation, and suspension of flights to Israel by most airlines.
The impact of the conflict on travel to the Middle East is significant and multifaceted. Here are some of the main effects:
- Oil price surge: The conflict has caused a spike in oil prices, as investors fear more instability and disruption in the Middle East, which is home to some of the world’s largest oil producers. Oil prices jumped by more than 10% on Monday, reaching their highest level since 20141. This could lead to higher fuel costs for airlines and travelers, as well as inflationary pressures for other sectors of the economy
- Airline shares fall: The conflict has also affected the stock market performance of airlines, especially those that operate flights to or from the Middle East. Many airlines have suspended or reduced their services to Israel and other destinations in the region, due to security concerns and low demand.
This could result in lower revenues and profits for airlines, as well as inconvenience and losses for travelers who have booked or planned their trips.
- Travel warnings: Many governments have issued travel warnings or advisories for their citizens who intend to travel to the Middle East, especially to Israel and Gaza. They have urged them to avoid non-essential travel or to exercise extreme caution if they have to travel.
- Travel insurance: Travelers who have purchased travel insurance may be able to claim compensation or reimbursement for their canceled or disrupted trips due to the conflict. However, this depends on the terms and conditions of their policies, as well as the date of purchase.
- Travel alternatives: Travelers who still want to visit the Middle East may consider other destinations that are less affected by the conflict or that offer similar attractions and experiences.
Airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, Qatar, Air France/ KLM and many other airlines are already making frantic changes to their flight schedules.
Public relations fever
Public relations and business will also be jolted by the conflict and public relations campaigns around the Middle East.