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Korean Air eyes Tel Aviv route
Korean Air is examining the possibility of starting flights between Seoul and Tel Aviv, the Tourism Ministry said Wednesday following a meeting between Minister Isaac Herzog and representatives of the company.
The Tourism Ministry said the representatives expressed interest in exploring the local market potential of travel to the Far East. Last year, approximately 28,000 Korean tourists arrived in Israel, of which just 25% arrived by air via Europe, the ministry said. The remainder crossed the border by land, mainly through Jordan .
The ministry noted that the first half of 2006 saw a 40% rise in Korean arrivals.
The Far East is also a growing destination for Israeli travel, particularly among businessmen and EL Al has identified it as a growth market as it looks ahead to 2007.
More Israelis to travel in '07
The same popular destinations are expected to enjoy a hike in Israeli travel next year, with Italy, Barcelona, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Paris and the Greek Isles clocking in as local favorites in 2006, Hebrew tourism Web site Gulliver said Wednesday.
"We see these continuing to be the most popular holiday spots next year," Gulliver CEO Zvika Karpel said. "We also expect the rising trend of family vacations continuing and even a return of travel to the Sinai."
Karpel predicted a rise in Israeli travel in 2007, compared to this year, as people reschedule the trips they cancelled because of the summer's war in Lebanon.
The weak dollar was also giving people reason to travel, he said.
"Already we have seen a significant increase in the number of bookings for 2007."
Not to be outdone, local vacations were also an attractive alternative at the moment, Karpel said, as hotels offered worthwhile deals to boost bookings to compensate or the drop in tourism from the war.
Drop in B-G Airport passenger count
Israel saw a 4.5 percent drop in international travel in November, compared to the parallel month in 2005, as Ben-Gurion Airport saw 572,235 passengers pass through its gates, the Israel Airports Authority reported.
Some 280,726 passengers arrived at the airport on 2,385 flights and 291,509 left on 2,379 flights that took off during the month. The total number of flights of 4,604 represented an increase of 3.5% from last November, IAA said.
In the first 11 months of the year, 8.2 million passengers passed through the airport, making it likely the year-end count will surpass the 2005 level. B-G Airport saw 8.5 million passengers arrive and last year on 62,224 flights. By November this year, 62,617 flights had operated through Tel Aviv.
The IAA data showed that 17.5% of passengers in November were flying on a US route, while 8.5% were either destined for or coming from France and 8% from the UK. Germany took 7.8% of the traffic and Turkey 7%.
El Al's share of the pie dropped from 46.4% of the total last November to 42.4% this year, while Continental Airlines, Lufthansa, Israir and Turkish Airlines completed the top five for the month.