Israeli vacations in Turkey skyrocket

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Twice as many Israelis visit Turkey in August 2015 as in August 2014, and 30 percent more than in August 2013, following years of extremely cool relations.

According to the figures, Israelis have begun returning to the country in droves after years of cool relations between the countries, and despite the fact that Turkey has recently been cracking down on Kurdish extremists.

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In August 2015 there was an increase of 101 percent in Israeli tourists in Turkey compared to August 2014, during Operation Protective Edge. It also represents an increase of 30 percent compared to August 2013, meaning that the steep rise cannot be attributed solely to a dearth of tourism during the conflict in Gaza.

According to the data, 38,000 Israelis visited Turkey in August.

The data also revealed that from January to August, 142,356 Israelis visited Turkey reflecting an increase of one percent compared to the same period in 2014, and an increase of 34 percent compared with January to August 2013.

The total number of tourists from around the world who came to Turkey in August was 5.13 million, a drop of three percent compared to August 2014.

Since the beginning of the year more than 25 million tourists arrived in Turkey, a decrease of one percent compared to January to August 2014. Tourist arrivals to Turkey declined due to Russia’s difficult economic situation, which led to a drop of almost 21 percent in the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey, and also because of security concerns that led to a decline of 17 percent and 23 percent in tourism from France and Italy respectively, respectively.

Meanwhile, hoteliers in Turkey are complainnig that the decline in tourists led to oversupply, so many hotels have extremely low occupancy rates, even during the summer. This is due to the rapid expansion and unsupervised nature of the tourist industry.

“There is an excess of supply in hotels in Turkey. Every year 35,000 new beds are added in the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya. It currently has more than 600,000 beds and it would take an additional one million tourists to fill the new rooms in hotels,” said professionals in Turkey’s tourist industry.

According to them, while hotel occupancy rates are reasonable in Istanbul , there is a surplus of rooms in the Antalya region and many hotels are looking for ways to cut costs, including by cutting the workforce, a move that could result in a decline in service quality which could lead to a further decline in tourist numbers.

According to international data, in the first half of 2015 Turkey experienced a sharp decline in hotel occupancy rates and in June there was a decrease of 7.6 percent compared to June 2014.

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