old city 88.
(photo credit: )
While the war may have slowed travel in and out of Israel through the summer, the High Holy Day season is expected to provide some consolation to the battered tourism industry as traffic through Ben-Gurion Airport is forecast to outgrow even last year's level.
The Israel Airports Authority said Sunday it expects approximately 720,000 passengers to pass through Terminal-3 over the holiday period, representing an increase of 11 percent from the parallel period last year. Some 4,704 flights will operate through the period starting from September 21, the day before Rosh Hashana, until October 15, the day after Succot, IAA said.
The busiest days at the airport are forecast to be September 21 with 41,000 people passing through the airport, October 5, when 44,000 passengers will travel just before the Succot holiday, and October 12, with 42,000 travelers either arriving or leaving the country.
The IAA noted the most popular destinations for Israelis traveling abroad for the holidays this year are Turkey, the US, Germany, France and England.
The statistics for the coming weeks provide a slight turn around for the tourism industry which saw significant declines in both foreign tourist arrivals and Israelis traveling abroad over the summer.
Last month ended with 121,700 tourist arrivals, marking a 37% drop from August 2005, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Sunday. Following on from the 26% decline in tourist arrivals seen in July, the war in Lebanon affected a 32% slump over the two summer months from 2005 as approximately 269,800 visitors arrived in July-August this year.
Tourist arrivals were still up 5% for the year, however, as 1.33 million foreign visitors have arrived between January and August, CBS added.
The monthlong conflict, which fell from mid-July to mid-August, had less of a dramatic impact on outgoing tourism as 4% less Israelis traveled abroad in July-August than last year.
Approximately 952,000 locals traveled in the two summer months, of which 488,000 were in August, CBS said. A total 2.5 million Israelis have traveled abroad in the first eight months of the year, which was 1% lower than the parallel period in 2005.