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The Israel Ministry of Tourism maintains Israel Government Tourist Offices (IGTOs) in a number of countries throughout the world. The Ministry of Tourism's website (www.tourism.gov.il) has country-specific information for citizens of the U.S. and Commonwealth countries, as well as for many European countries. It also offers information about maps, special events in Israel, a schedule of conferences and conventions, information about tour groups, and special deals and advice for prospective visitors to Israel. On this website you'll also find the current rates of exchange vis-à-vis the new Israeli shekel.

For additional lively and very useful information, readers in the United States and Canada can contact the Israel Government Tourism Office (IGTO) North American Information Center (tel. 888/77-ISRAEL [477235]; www.goisrael.com). U.S. offices are at 6380 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1718, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (tel. 323/658-7463), and 800 Second Ave., New York, NY 10117 (tel. 212/499-5650).

Canadians can head to 180 Bloor St. W., Ste. 700, Toronto, ON M5S 2V6 (tel. 416/964-3784; www.igto.ca; info@igto.ca). For the United Kingdom and Ireland, the regional IGTO office is at UK House, 180 Oxford St., London W1D 1NN (tel. 0207/299-1111; www.thinkisrael.com).

The Jordan Tourism Board's official website (www.visitjordan.com) is probably the most efficient for any country in the Middle East. For travel information specific to Petra and its surrounding area, another helpful website is www.go2petra.com.

For travel forums filled with readers' reports, concerns, and discussions, go to the Frommer's Israel and Jordan message boards (www.frommers.com); and Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com), which has lively forums on travel to Israel and Jordan.

Tourism Info Hot Line

Tourphone is an Israel Ministry of Tourism service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week offering tourist information, directions, current entry and exit regulations at various border crossings, and assistance with emergencies and visa problems. Call *3888 from any Israeli telephone. Information is available in English and French.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.