Survey: Less Israelis plan to go on vacation in 2008

10% of the secular public plans to vacation in Israel, down from 20% last year.

Sixty-three percent of Israelis plan to go on vacation in 2008, down from 70% during 2007, according to a recent survey prepared for the 14th International Mediterranean Tourism Market to be held February 5-6 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. One out of four Israelis (24%) plan to vacation abroad, 18% plan to vacation in Israel and 15% hope to take vacations both in Israel and abroad in 2008. The survey was carried out by the GeoCartographia Research Institute, which specializes in market research and strategic planning. Compared to last year, the survey indicated that more members of the religious and ultra-Orthodox communities plan to go on vacation in Israel in 2008 - 32% compared to 5% last year. Ten percent of the secular public plans to vacation in Israel, down from 20% last year. The survey also indicates that men have more holiday plans than women - 67% compared to 59%. For the first time, Ethiopia will be participating in the tourism fair. In recent years, Ethiopia has become an increasingly popular tourist destination among the Israelis, who have explored South America and India, but are looking to conquer new destinations far from Western culture. "This year we see a considerable increase in flights to Ethiopia," said Eyal Shmueli, publisher and editor in chief of Israel Travel News and one of the initiators of tourism fair. "The Israelis are no longer satisfied with the traditional tourist sites, they are looking for new places and new attractions to enjoy, and Ethiopia certainly meets this definition." "The number of countries participating in the fair this year shows a continuing belief in Israel, and especially in the Israeli tourist," he added. More than 30 countries are expected to participate in this year's fair, including Lithuania, Slovakia and Tanzania, which also will be participating for the first time.