(photo credit: AP)
Recent events in the Middle East have left steely-eyed travel professionals
unable to succinctly communicate how the recent rift in relations with Turkey
affects the tourism industry. With apologies to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s
first president, I offer my own thesis: the Turkish effect.
in depth what the Turkish effect is, one must first grasp what the greenhouse
effect is. Simply put it’s the rise in temperature because certain gases in the
atmosphere trap energy from the sun.
Without these gases, heat would
escape back into space.
Have you ever seen a greenhouse? Most look like a
small glass house. And countless readers will comprehend that those that live in
a glass house should not be throwing stones.
The Turkish effect bears
quite a lot of similarities to the greenhouse effect. Large amounts of gases
have emanated from Turkey over the last few months resulting in trapped energy.
The main result has been that of severe polarity. Like two magnets pushing
themselves apart, a massive multitude of potential tourists are using all modes
of energy to avoid travelling to Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are
not visiting Turkey. Millions of dollars are not being spent at Turkey hotels.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are not being spent in Turkish
Moreover, the ripple effect has led to a near boycott of Turkey
by supporters of Israel from other countries.
Many travel agencies have
reported that both US evangelicals and British Jews have canceled plans to
visit Turkey. French tourists, primarily Jewish, who spend the entire summer
vacationing here, have already opted to head to Eilat for a few days rather than
risk the waters off the coast of Turkey. US organized tours that have combined
visits to Israel with a sojourn in Turkey have deleted Turkey from their fall
Still this is just a drop in the bucket in the Turkish tourism
scene. No doubt the German and Russian tourists will fill up the Turkish
resorts, spending almost as munificently as their Israeli counterparts.
Empirical evidence, though, seems to show that Israelis tend to spend more per
capita than their European counterparts.
The Turkish effect does not
translate into an economic benefit for the Israeli consumer.
contrary. To understand this side effect one must grasp the subtleties of the
butterfly effect. Often attributed to famed science fiction writer Ray Bradbury,
the postulation was that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings could result
downwind in cosmic changes. Although commonly used to denote time travel, my
postulation is that small changes have large effects in all travel. In fact the
majority of Israelis will still be taking their summer vacation. Those with more
disposable income have opted to travel farther afield.
The US and Canada,
in particular, have seen large increases as the Israeli public makes plans to
visit the breadth and depth of North America.
It’s closer to home though
that the Turkish effect can be experienced in its full glory.
Greece have naturally stepped into the vacuum. Offering similar, all inclusive
clubs, they are doing their utmost to woo the Israeli consumer. Unfortunately as
the demand to simply get away is so great, the supply is limited in what is
Thus the prices for these packages have mysteriously been
increased 20 percent over last summer. Actually there is no mystery; simply the
effect of supply and demand. The greater the demand, the more valuable, or more
expensive, becomes the supply. Hotels in Eilat and the Dead Sea also found the
timing irresistible and increased their rates.
Recently I was a guest at
a deluxe Crete hotel resort. The facilities, though aged, were
wife can attest that the shopping in the nearby town was abundant in
offerings and its prices.
Two conclusions were reached. First the Greek
people love fawning over tourists from Israel. Seems there is almost an
animus to Turkey and everywhere we went warm embraces and wide smiles
when they discovered our origin. Never in recent years have I felt such
being an Israeli. We found Crete to be a pleasant diversion and were
leave our euros in their shops.
The other conclusion relates to the
comfort level of the resorts. Viewed through the eyes of the Israeli
his family, it was quite obvious that Greek hotels cannot replace the
resorts. Even the property that hosted us, all inclusive in theory, was
in several areas. Bottles of water were “extra.” Limited water sports
available. Almost no planned children’s activities existed. Internet
spotty, and nonexistent in the hotel rooms.
So keep in mind that the
Turkish effect does cut across the seas. Turkey, and all those who have
benefited from the Israeli tourist there, will lose hundreds of millions
dollars; and the Israeli consumer will end up paying much more to
less.The writer is CEO of Ziontours in
and comments, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.