Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea – places we hear about on a daily basis at this time of year. Christmas remembers the birth of Jesus Christ, and the travelling three kings.

Is it safe? You may ask. Of course I say it is, but I am biased since my family live in Eilat. My eldest daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren run dive centres in Eilat, Israel and Taba, Egypt.

Would I go there on holiday? Yes, and I do.

The last two years have seen terrible civil disruption over the region, but it is quiet now. Tourism, most importantly, has a big role to play in bringing normality back to the unsettled communities. Moreover, visitors from afar are very welcome at this time – there is nothing more encouraging and cheering than seeing friendly faces from foreign lands.

The UK Foreign Office has relaxed the advice on Egypt and Tunisia some time back, while Israel, Jordan and North Tunisia have always been open for travel.

After the unrest, Egypt’s incredible value-for-money Nile Cruises are back on the menu and are offered with ‘Upgrade from 4* to 5*’ at no extra cost, and for single travellers we have some good news in that there is no single supplement charged! Beach Holidays to the Red Sea are better value than ever, despite the heavy air travel tax. Adventure, fishing holidays on Lake Nasser, liveaboards (boats for dives in the Red Sea) and fly drives in Jordan and Israel – they’re all back to normal.

And it is hot – actually, at this time of year, the weather is especially good for touring since it is warm. The average outdoor high at this time of year is 23°C, with the sea being a wonderfully warm 21°C or over.