Turkey Tourism 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With all charter flights to Turkey canceled and the sole remaining carrier,
Turkish Airlines, reducing flight numbers and plane sizes, the Turkish tourism
sector is beginning to feel the loss of the small but profitable Israeli tourism
Since the May 31 Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara, and
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s subsequent hostile rhetoric,
Israelis have, in effect, launched a boycott against Turkey.
reported Wednesday that the Turkish economy has lost at
$400 million due to cancelled Israeli renovations, and that some Turkish
agencies are facing bankruptcy.
“Our company’s main business channel has
been cut,” Levent Güner, the owner of Levantin Tour, told the paper.
retrieve my 3.5 million-lira loss?” For the last 15 years, Turkey has
primary travel destination for Israeli vacationers, particularly during
summer school vacation.
Planeloads of tourists would make their way on
chartered flights to the all-inclusive resorts in Antalya and Bodrum.
on Wednesday, when the Israel Airports Authority published its outlook
summer travel, Turkish destinations were nowhere to be seen. A list once
dominated by them is now led by Greece, Italy, Germany, Spain and the
According to Ran Rahav Public Relations, the firm that represents
the Turkish Tourism Board in Israel, 18,000 Israelis entered Turkey in
72,465 Israelis have flown there since the beginning of the year.
numbers are increases compared to the same period year, when tourism to
had also plunged following that country’s hostile response to Operation
On Wednesday, Turkish Airlines announced that it would be replacing
the Airbus 321 planes on the Tel Aviv-Istanbul route with the Airbus
carries 30 fewer passengers. The airline said that while it is not
canceling any of its 25 weekly flights, when planes are not full, it
Joseph Fischer, owner’s representative and executive
board member of IDB Tourism, said he believed the losses cited in the
article was a low estimate, because it didn’t calculate the losses to
operators and the lost revenues of Turkish merchants.
“There are simply
no more charter flights to Turkey and back.
None of the companies are
even offering packages to Turkey anymore,” he Fischer.
years, a single company could fill up five flights a day during July and
No matter how cheap flights are, that adds up,” he said.
“You also have
to take into account that Israelis, unlike other vacationers, spend
outside the resort, too. While a German or Dutch tourist may go to a
never leave the premises, for Israelis a major part of the vacation is
shopping and spending.
It’s rare for someone who goes to Turkey to come
back without a leather jacket or a carpet,” said Fisher. “There’s also
spent on gambling.”
The main beneficiaries of the Israeli abandonment of
Turkey appear to Greece and the Greek Islands, Cyprus and Eastern
countries. Their relative proximity to Israel and the similar climate
attractive substitutes, even if they don’t offer the much-adored
resorts that Israelis found in Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye.
likely beneficiary will be the local tourism industry.
shunning Turkey have chosen instead to vacation in Eilat, the Dead Sea
The hotel industry is prepared for the onslaught and is already
warning of overbooking. As a result of the high demand, there will be
discounts this summer.
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