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Sees Hike in U.S. Tourism to Mideast Once Lebanon Crisis Ends

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Abraham Sharir. Israel’s Minister of Tourism, predicted last night that once the Lebanese crisis is peacefully resolved which, he said, is a “matter of a few weeks,” American tourists will be able to go on “package tours to Egypt, Israel and Lebanon.”

Addressing some 120 travel agents from the New York area at a reception at the Regency Hotel here, the Israeli Minister said that in fact in recent weeks the Lebanese-Israeli border has been open for tourists from both countries. He said that American tourists can come now and “visit the pyramids in Egypt then come to visit the Holy Places in Israel and from there continue to enjoy the casinos of Lebanon.”

Sharir said, however, that the war in Lebanon, which started June 6, has reduced the number of American tourists to Israel by about five percent this summer compared with the same period last year. He said that many would-be tourists were scared because of the war in Lebanon and wrongly thought that Israel was an unsafe place to visit.

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