Middle East tours proceed as scheduled, travel group says
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It’s business as usual for tours being arranged to popular destinations in the Middle East despite tensions between the US and Iran, the country’s group of travel agencies said.

Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) president Ritchie Tuaño said tours to destinations in the Middle East such as Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE) would proceed as scheduled.

“Some of our members in the PTAA have scheduled Holy Land trips. They are still pursuing these trips with the coming months especially with the coming March, April school break. It’s still very much on schedule and nothing has changed yet,” he said.

This as the PTAA received an advisory from the tourism ministry of Israel,  saying there is no immediate threat as far as the country is concerned.

A similar advisory has also been issued by the government of UAE.

“This is not discounting the fact there is tension but maybe it is very much concentrated in the countries of Iran, Iraq and nearby areas. The Middle East is a very big region so not all of the Middle East is affected at all,” he said.

Tensions between the US and Iran escalated as Iran’s military commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani was killed in Iraq by a strike ordered by the US.

 

Last Wednesday, Iran retaliated and fired at Iraqi bases which house US troops.

After the retaliatory attack, the US announced it would impose new sanctions against Iran.

While tours to Middle East destinations like Israel and UAE would proceed, Tuaño said the PTAA would continue to monitor the situation between the US and Iran.

The group is also gearing up for the 27th PTAA TravelTour Expo 2020 slated to be held on Feb.7 to 9, at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

More than 400 exhibitors from the travel agency and tourism enterprise industry, as well as over 100,000 guests are expected to participate in the event.

Considered the largest annual gathering for travel and tours, the event will offer up to 70 percent discounts on cruise lines, hotels, theme parks, and airline fares.

“This is the best year to travel, given the long weekends published. International travel has also become affordable thus we expect not only millennials, but also professionals to be active tourists,” Tuaño said.

IRAN MIDDLE EAST US
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