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Antalya bazaar standing empty during boycott Photo: Danny Sadeh
Antalya bazaar standing empty during boycott Photo: Danny Sadeh
 
 

Boycott over? Israelis flock to Turkey

Attractive deals in all-inclusive resorts manage to lure large numbers of Israelis to Antalya in Passover, despite recent boycott of destination after Gaza op

Danny Sadeh
Published: 04.12.09, 23:56 / Israel Travel

Those scheduled to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday would be wise to stock up on plenty of water, and patience, as tomorrow and Tuesday are expected to be two of the busiest days at the terminal this year.

 

Surprisingly enough, it is the flights to Turkey that are heading the departure charts, with 27 of them set to leave for Antalya in the next 48 hours.

 

Turkey, which only recently disappeared from the map of Israeli tourism, where it reigned supreme until Operation Cast Lead, seems to be making a major comeback.

 

Israeli kids at hotel in Antalya (Photo: Danny Sadeh)

 

Travel agents report "stunning" numbers of reservations for Antalya, a destination popular with Israelis due to its "all inclusive" resorts.

 

"Israelis realized that there is no alternative – neither in terms of the price nor of the quality – to what Antalya has to offer," explained Flying Carpet tour operator CEO Eyal Kashdan. "You can't get better deals than that," he added.

 

'Eilat much more expensive'

Talks with vacationing Israelis reveal that boycott or not – most Israelis just can't resist the Turkish deals.

 

"We did the math and saw that a vacation in Eilat would have cost us much more," said Rafi Harari, who came to Antalya with his wife and his son's family. "We don't boycott them (the Turks) and don't think they should be boycotted at all."

 

Notably, the rise in vacation packages in Antalya has not affected local hotels and zimmes, which also reported very high occupancy rates throughout the holiday.

 

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