Reconciliation Aside, Israelis Still Staying Away from Turkey

Israeli tourists aren't rushing back to Turkey's famed “all inclusive” resorts; 83% of Israelis would not even consider the possibility

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David Lev,

Turkey tourism booth
Turkey tourism booth
Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

Israel and Turkey may have buried the hatchet, but Israeli tourists aren't rushing back to Turkey's famed “all inclusive” resorts. A poll conducted on behalf of Globes daily business newspaper says that 83% of Israelis would not even consider the possibility of a vacation in Turkey this summer – and among those that would consider it, an extremely small percentage have actually reserved spots in Turkish hotels.

Just a few years ago, the choice of summer vacation for many Israelis was the resort coastal area of Turkey, with resort hotels catering to all their needs for an extremely competitive price – with a full package of lodging, meals, and flight often coming out to less than an equivalent vacation in Eilat. That all ended in 2009, in the wake of Turkey's criticism of Operation Cast Lead. By summer 2010, after the Mavi Maramara incident, in which 9 Turkish terrorist sympathizers were killed after they tried to murder IDF troops, almost no Israelis were traveling to Turkey, for any purpose – and the situation has remained more or less unchanged since then.

After last month's apology by Israel to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident, tourist agencies and organizers believed that Israelis would begin considering Turkey for their summer travel plans. But according to the poll published Thursday in Globes, Israelis who have changed their vacation habits are not rushing back to Turkey.

In fact, even among the 17% of Israelis who said they would consider a Turkish vacation, there seemed to be little practical enthusiasm for the idea. Only 0.2% of Israelis in that group have actually reserved places in a Turkish resort for this summer. Travel industry officials said that it was possible that the percentage could rise, because many people did not make their summer vacation plans until May or June, but admitted that the “bump” from late vacation planners was unlikely to change that percentage significantly.

Out of the 509 people in the representative sample polled, over 60% have vacationed in Turkey before.