Increasing numbers of Israelis are ignoring the government’s travel warnings against entering the Sinai Peninsula, where terrorist groups have been carrying on a protracted shooting war with Egyptian security forces, Globes reported on Wednesday.
Israeli tourists, especially the young who have never seen the beautiful Red Sea beaches, are giving in to the lure of travel in the dangerous region.
According to the Israel Airports Authority (IAA), 60,000 Israelis crossed the border at Taba south of Eilat in September and October, and the number of visitors is expected to exceed 200,000 this year, compared with 134,455 in 2015 but still only a fraction of the more than 400,000 in 2004.
There has been a shift in the composition of the tourism, as well. Whereas most Israelis going to Sinai in recent years have been Arabs, more than 70 percent of the tourists this year have been Jewish.
Officials are surprised and concerned by the trend, given the ongoing violence in Sinai and the travel warnings issued regularly by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Last year, IS claimed responsibility for shooting down a Russian passenger jet, killing all 224 passengers on board—an incident severely damaging to international tourism in Sinai.