Some 280,000 expected to go abroad for Tishrei holidays

Rosh Hashana-Succot season will see a 13% increase in Israeli travel.

By RON FRIEDMAN
August 4, 2010 03:48
2 minute read.
Passengers queue up at Luton Airport.

UK flight disruptions 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The upcoming holidays will see a 13 percent increase in Israeli travel to foreign destinations compared to last year, with 280,000 Israelis are expected to spend the Rosh Hashana-Succot season overseas, according to figures released Tuesday by tourism companies Diesenhaus and Natour.

Diesenhaus marketing director Gilad Brobinsky said that bookings for the holiday season began earlier than usual this year because the holidays fall earlier on the civil calendar. He also said that because of the relatively small amount of work days in September, many people are opting for longer holidays at distant destinations.

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“This year the month of September features only 13 work days, therefore many employees prefer to combine vacation days with the holidays and stretch out their vacations for three or four weeks,” said Brobinsky. “This will enable Israelis to visit farther and more exotic paces like Thailand or take a long and leisurely tour around the United States.”

According to Natour marketing director Sharon Haramati, when the holidays fall on October, the weather in foreign destinations is already cool with better chances of rain. She said that the holidays’ timing this year is spurring a demand for vacations at Mediterranean destinations like the Greek islands of Crete Rhodes and Corfu. Haramati also pointed to European destinations like Burgess, Costa Brava and Varna, as likely options.

Siman Ovadyah, who leads Natour’s Beshvil Hazahav division, which specializes in travel arrangements for senior citizens, say this age group constitutes 10% of the total outgoing tourism pool in Israel and that 30,000 seniors are expected to leave the country for the holidays.

“Today, seniors, just like some of the younger people, prefer to spend their holiday vacations traveling around the world with friends instead of at the [holiday] dinner table,” he said.

“In the past it was assumed that older people favored nearby destinations because of the perceived difficulties of long flights. Today classical European destinations are still the most popular, but in recent years, new places like North and South America, Asia and even Africa, have been added to the list of likely destinations,” said Ovadyah.

Senior citizens represent a lucrative segment for the tourism industry, he said.

“Seniors take joy in traveling around the world, they have time and they have resources to invest in themselves. At the same time, preparing a trip for them demands special organization on our part,” said Ovadyah.

“We custom fit a tour according to the abilities and desires of the participants, while adjusting the cultural repertoire according to their interests. Each tour group is also accompanied by a physician. This year you will hear the statement ‘Grandma and Grandpa are abroad,’ often,” predicted Ovadyah.

As for travel to Turkey, Brobinsky said that despite the removal of the travel warning last week, there has been no renewed interest on the part of Israelis to travel there.

“There is no doubt the Turkey offers the highest value for money for the Israeli vacationer. I am sure that with time and as the diplomatic relations between the two countries improves, we will see the tourism relations go back to what they were. At the same time, the current feeling is that Israelis will avoid spending their holidays in the once-adored all-inclusive clubs during the upcoming holiday season.”


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