Tourism relations with Scandinavia get a boost

Some 10,000 tourists are expected to come from Helsinki and Stockholm to Israel in 60 flights during 2008-2009.

sweden flag 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
sweden flag 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some 10,000 tourists are expected to come from Helsinki and Stockholm to Tel Aviv and Eilat in 60 flights during 2008-2009 following the Tourism Ministry's efforts to market Israel in Scandinavia, the ministry announced Sunday. • Sweden-based Sabra Tours plans to revive the air route between Stockholm and Tel Aviv this year, with 33 flights between March and November, in cooperation with Israir Airlines. Some 4,500 tourists are expected to visit Israel via the cooperative effort. • Matka Vekka, a Finnish tourism wholesaler, also plans to start marketing vacation packages to Eilat and the rest of Israel. A weekly charter flight between Helsinki and Eilat will operate from October 2008 and until April 2009. The 26 flights are expected to bring more than 5,000 tourists. • Holland's Neckermann Thomas Cook, the second largest tourism wholesaler in Europe, will resume marketing vacation packages to Israel starting in October 2008. Neckermann Thomas Cook stopped operating in Israel in late 2000, following the outbreak of Palestinian violence. Dutch tourists will fly to Taba, Sinai, and enter Israel at Eilat. The company is scheduled to sell five-day packages to Israel from October 2008 through April 2009. About 45,000 Scandinavian tourists visited Israel in 2007, and 2,205 came in January 2008, 16 percent more than in January 2007, according to the Tourism Ministry. "The growth in the demand among the Scandinavian countries is another expression of trust in Israel and in its tourist product," Tourism Ministry director-general Shaul Tzemach said Sunday. "The entrance of new tourism companies to the Israeli market is expected to attract more companies from these markets to Israel." Leaders of the Pentecostal Church, one of the largest in Scandinavia, will be hosted by the Tourism Ministry in May, as Israel celebrates 60 years of independence.