Tourism development challenges on the Dead Sea shore

Open access


The Dead Sea along with Jerusalem belongs to one of the most well-known spots visited by tourists in Israel. Because of many factors, such as the water level of the Dead Sea at a depth of 430 m b.s.l. (in 2015), average salinity of 26%, hot springs and many healing salts located there, it is a unique tourist attraction on a global level. Its attractiveness is heightened by its proximity to other sites of interest, such as the Jewish fortress at Masada, Jericho, Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, as well as Petra, Madaba and Al-Karak on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. High salinity and a microclimate create perfect conditions for the development of health resorts and medical tourism. Extracting healing salts from its waters for the needs of the chemical industry is important for both the economy and medical tourism. However, as a consequence of the agricultural and urban use of the waters of the River Jordan, which flows into the Dead Sea, a persistent decrease in the lake water level has been observed over the last century. This has created a number of economic and political issues. The problems which still have to be resolved are associated with the Red Sea-Dead Sea Conduit (Canal), the division of Jordan’s water resources, conservation of the unique reservoir of the Dead Sea and the threat of hindering the development of tourism within the region. The presentation of these issues is the main aim of this research paper. The study is based on the analysis of changes in tourism flows, results of research studies and the prognosis of changes in the water level of the Dead Sea. It presents an assessment of the effects of this phenomenon on the tourist economy. At the current level of tourism flows within the region, the tourist capacity of local beaches will be exceeded in areas where the most popular tourist resorts are located. Increased expenditure on development of tourism infrastructure in the coastal zone can also be observed. The predicted decreasing water level will result in further modifications and expansion of tourism infrastructure, decreased accessibility to the coastline for tourists, increased costs of visiting and may lead to an ecological disaster.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abdel-Fattah A. Pingitore N.E. 2009 Low levels of toxic elements in Dead Sea black mud and mud-derived cosmetic products Environ. Geochem. Health 31(4): 487–492.

  • Ablin J.N. Häuser W. Buskila D. 2013 Spa treatment (Balneotherapy) for fibromyalgia. A Qualitative-Narrative Review and a Historical Perspective Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Med. Article ID 638050:1–5.

  • Abu Ghazleh S. Abed A.M. Kempe S. 2011 The dramatic drop of the Dead Sea: Background rates impacts and solutions [in:] Badescu V. Cathcart R.B. (eds) Macro-engineering seawater in unique environments. Arid Lowlands and water bodies rehabilitation Springer-Verlag Berlin-Heidelberg: 77–105.

  • Abu Ghazleh S. Hartmann J. Jansen N. Kempe S. 2009 Water input requirements of the rapidly shrinking Dead Sea Naturwissenschaften 96(5): 637–643.

  • Al-Khlaifat A.L. 2008 Dead Sea Rate of Evaporation Am. J. Appl. Sci. 5(8): 934–942.

  • Avriel A. Fuchs L. Plakht Y. Cicurel A. Apfelbaum A. Satran R. Friger M. Dartava D. Sukenik S. 2011 Quality of life at the Dead Sea region: the lower the better? An observation study Health Qual. Life Outcomes 9(38): 1–7.

  • Bachner M. 2016 More than three million tourists visited Israel in 2015 Breaking Israel News: 12 January 2016. Accessed on 13 June 2016 a:

  • [] online accommodation booking website 2016. Accessed on 29–30 March 2016 at:

  • [CBS] Central Bureau of Statistics (Israel) 2013 Tourism in Israel 2000–2012 CBS Statistilite 135:1–15. Accessed on 20 June 2016 at:

  • [CBS] Central Bureau of Statistics (Israel) 2016 Tourism and accommodation services. Accessed on 15 May 2016 at:

  • Gertman I. Hecht A. 2002 The Dead Sea hydrography from 1992 to 2000 J. Mar. Syst. 35: 169–181.

  • Google 2016 Google maps. Accessed on 25 July 2016 at:

  • Hecht A. Gertman I. 2003 Dead Sea Meteorological Climate [in:] Nevo E. Oren A. Wassre S.P. (eds) Biodiversity of Cyanoprocaryotes algae and fungi of Israel University of Haifa Haifa: 68–116.

  • Ilieş A. Wendt J.A. 2015 Geografia turystyczna. Podstawy teorii i zagadnienia aplikacyjne (Tourist geography. Basic theory and application issues) Wydaw. AWFiS Gdańsk 214 pp. (in Polish).

  • [IOLR] Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research 2016 Monitoring of the Dead Sea. Accessed on 18 June 2016 at:

  • Khlaifat A. Al-Khashman O. Qutob H. 2010 Physical and chemical characterization of Dead Sea mud Mater. Char. 61(5): 564–568.

  • Kibuc Ein Gedi official web page 2016 Dead Sea data summary 2015. Accessed on 13 June 2016 at:

  • [MOTA] Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities 2015 Statistics: Tourism Statistical Newsletter 2015. Accessed on 18 July 2016 at:

  • [MOTA] Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities 2016 Statistics: Tourism Statistical Newsletter 2016. Accessed on 18 July 2016 at:

  • Neumann L. Sukenik S. Bolotin A. Abu-Shakra M. Amir M. Flusser D. Buskila D. 2001 The effect of balneotherapy at the Dead Sea on the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome Clin. Rheumatol. 20(1): 15–19.

  • Obeidat O. 2016 Tourism revenues dropped JD220m in 2015 – official figures The Jordan Times: 6 March 2016. Accessed on 19 July 2016 at:

  • Reinstein Z. 2014 2013: Recorded year for incoming tourism 1 October 2014. Accessed on 19 July 2016 at:,7340,L-4475168,00html.

  • Salameh E. El-Naser H. 2000 Changes in the Dead Sea level and their impacts on the surrounding groundwater bodies Acta Hydrochim. Hydrobiol. 28: 24–33.

  • Wendt J.A. 2011 Zarys geografii turystycznej (The outline geography of tourism) [CD version]. Wydaw. UG Gdańsk 126 pp. (in Polish).

  • [WBG] The World Bank Group 2016a International tourism number of arrivals 1995–2014: Israel. Accessed on 18 July 2016 at:

  • [WBG] The World Bank Group 2016b International tourism number of arrivals 1995–2014: Jordan. Accessed on 18 July 2016 at:

  • [WDA] World Data Atlas 2016a Israel – Travel & Tourism Total Contribution to GDP. Accessed on 10 May 2016 at

  • [WDA] World Data Atlas 2016b Jordan – Travel & Tourism Total Contribution to GDP. Accessed on 10 May 2016 at

  • Wójtowicz B. Wójtowicz P. 2015 Atrakcje turystyczne Jordanii i ich znaczenie dla rozwoju usług turystycznych Pr. Kom. Geogr. Przemysłu PTG 29(3): 48–66 (in Polish English summary).

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 396 224 18
PDF Downloads 234 145 12