The recent drop in the number of Israeli tourists traveling to Turkey
and the ongoing diplomatic rift between the two countries has not stopped Turkey's Pegasus Airlines from announcing Tel Aviv as its newest destination.
The low-cost air carrier is set to launch its Istanbul-Tel Aviv route on June 18. Tickets, which have already gone on sale, are to start at $69.99 one way, including taxes and fees. The airline is to operate six weekly flights each way. Travelers wishing to continue to destinations beyond Istanbul are given the option to purchase the additional flight for a moderate fee.
Time will tell whether the lucrative pricing would be enough to lure Israelis back to Turkey.
Despite the fact that ties between the two countries reached a historic low following an IDF
raid on a Turkish Gaza-bound maritime flotilla
in May 2010, and the subsequent expulsion
of the Israeli ambassador from Ankara, Turkey continued to woo Israelis at the annual International Mediterranean Tourism Market in Tel Aviv earlier this year.
Cheap flights to entice Israeli tourists?
Moreover, Turkish Deputy Minister of Tourism Ozgur Ozaslan
last month expressed his hopes that Israeli travelers would return to his country; the government official made the remarks in a meeting with Israeli Ambassador to Serbia Yossef Levy at the Serbian international tourism fair.
"Antalia and Istanbul miss the Israeli tourists" said Ozaslan.