Tour company begins offering packages to Turkey

Is the Israeli tourism boycott nearing its end?

istanbul water view 311 (photo credit: Elana Kirsh)
istanbul water view 311
(photo credit: Elana Kirsh)
Is the Israeli tourism boycott of Turkey nearing its end? Travel company Kavei Hufsha announced on Wednesday that it was reoffering its regular vacations packages to Antalya, a popular seaside resort town, which until the raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara on May 31 had been packed with Israelis.
Last month Israel removed the travel warning against visiting Turkey that had been issued after the flotilla raid, which killed nine Turks, generated hostility in Turkey. But though the advisory was removed, Israelis were hesitant to travel to Turkey, in part to demonstrate disapproval of the Turkish government’s response to the flotilla raid.
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It is estimated that the Israeli boycott cost the Turkish tourism industry $2 billion.
Substantial losses were also registered by Israeli tourism companies who sold the allinclusive packages that until recently were so popular among Israelis.
Today, both the Israeli and the Turkish tourism sectors hope that Israeli tourists are willing to forgive and forget and resume their previous travel patterns.
“Recently we have witnessed a reawakening in Israeli demands for vacations in Antalya. The Antalya hoteliers and merchants, for their part, have missed the Israeli tourists and they will be welcomed back fondly,” said Arnon Englender, Kavei Hufsha’s CEO.
In an interview with Globes, Englender said that the renewed interest among Israelis was limited to Antalya, which he characterized as separate from the rest of Turkey.
“I don’t know about the rest of the country, but I was in Antalya recently and nothing’s changed. What interests people there is tourism and the good life,” he said.
Kavei Hufsha has committed to five flights a week to the Turkish destination and is offering packages for three nights in a fivestar resort ranging from $420-$580 per person, flights included.
Englender said the first flight is scheduled to leave on Sunday, and was just 18 seats away from being fully booked.