search

Turkey back on the map for Israeli tourists

Visits to the once-popular destination up 86% following the prime minister’s apology over the deadly 2010 flotilla raid

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

File: Israelis on board a flight to Turkey during the Passover holiday, April 12, 2009. (Shay Levy/Flash90)
File: Israelis on board a flight to Turkey during the Passover holiday, April 12, 2009. (Shay Levy/Flash90)

Israeli tourism to Turkey increased by 86 percent compared to figures recorded last year, rising from 7,369 visitors in June 2012 to 13,713 visitors in June of 2013.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet also reported Wednesday that the total number of Israelis who traveled to Turkey in the first half of 2013 rose by almost 80% in comparison to the same time period last year, from 31,652 tourists in 2012 to 57,000 this year.

The Turkish newspaper attributed the significant surge in tourism to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s much-publicized March apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the 2010 IDF raid of the Mavi Marmara, a ship that aimed to break the Israeli-imposed naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The raid resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists who were on board the ship.

The incident greatly exacerbated already high tensions between Israel and Turkey, dealing a massive blow to tourism between the two countries. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, visits from Israel to Turkey plummeted, dropping from nearly 500,000 visitors in 2008 to a mere 79,140 in 2011.

Turkish tourism companies are hopeful that the recent increase in visitors may signal the renewal of Israeli-Turkish tourism ties and the ease of political tensions between both countries, the report said.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed