EL AL Plane 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
While Europe braces for a tourism slump following the American State
Department’s travel alert, warning the public of possible terrorist threats in
European cities, so far the alert has had no perceptible effect on the travel
patterns of Israelis.
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Tourism professionals in Israel told The Jerusalem
Post on Tuesday that they have noted no cancellations on flights to the
destinations mentioned in the alert and no slowdown in ticket sales in the three
days since the alert was issued.
The State Department travel alert
advised US citizens living or traveling in Europe, to take more precautions over
their personal security. The alert is one step below a formal travel warning
advising Americans not to visit Europe.
“So far we haven’t felt any
effects from the travel alert. All our flights to Europe are full and we have
registered no canceled bookings to the destinations mentioned in the alert,”
said El Al spokeswoman Anat Freedman.
“This time of year, immediately
after the summer holiday and the High Holiday period, is often a slower time of
the year as far as tourist travel is concerned, but we have no indication that
people are changing their travel plans because of the warning.”
Muscal, who represents German airline Lufthansa in Israel, said that they too
have noted no change as a result of the alert. Despite the fact that several
German landmarks, including the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the city’s
central train station were on the list of possible targets, Muscal said their
flights from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt and Munich remained fully booked.
Ron, the marketing director of Issta, a major Israeli travel company, said that
so far the alert has had no effect on ticket and package sales and suggested
that the reason for the perceived nonchalance may be the resilient nature of
“Israelis are experienced when it comes to travel warnings and
tend to take them in stride. I think that the fact that the warning was fairly
general and not pinpointed and that the counter-terrorism bureau of the National
Security Council didn’t issue a warning of its own, also put people more at
Unfortunately even when the National Security Council does issue a
warning, Israelis often ignore it, so all the more so when it’s issued by a
foreign country,” said Ron.
Dana Lavi, marketing director for Hadaka 90,
a company that specializes in last-minute flight and hotel bookings, said that
Israelis were used to hearing about travel warnings and might take them a bit
more lightly than Americans or Europeans do. Lavi said that if there was indeed
a drop in Israeli travel to Europe her company would be the best indicator since
it specialized in catering to people’s spontaneous travel needs and would see
the decline immediately.
“Since the end of last week, when the Jewish
holiday period was over, we have actually witnessed a rise in demand. This is
the time of year when people tend to travel less, but this year we are seeing
positive numbers,” said Lavi.
“Travel patterns are changing.
people are going on vacation to the southern Mediterranean destinations and more
are going to places like Europe, the Far East and the United States, but this is
normal for this time of year and cannot be linked to the alert.”