It's official: Israelis are returning to Turkey in masses. Figures released by the Turkish Statistical Institute point to a 157% increase in the number of Israelis who spent their summer vacation in the "club land" in August.
This is an impressive number compared to the figures recorded since the relations between Israel
and Turkey cooled down following the fighting in Gaza and the flotilla incident.
According to the figures, 29,356 Israelis arrived in Turkey in August 2013 compared to 11,394 in August 2012. These numbers are still very far from August 2008, which was a record month in Israeli entries to Turkey with 88,890 visits.
Israelis return to Turkey (Archive photo: Ido Erez)
A summary of the summer months, July and August, reveals that 49,115 vacationers arrived in Turkey from Israel during that period, a 107% increase compared to the figures of the summer of 2012.
In July-August 2008, Turkey was conquered by more than 167,000 Israeli vacationers.
After Operation Cast Lead
in late 2008, and a series of statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
against Israel and its leaders, Israelis launched a consumer boycott
against Turkey, and the number of arrivals to the country from Israel plummeted by 80%, with most vacationers being Israeli Arabs.
Travel agents we spoke to in recent days noted that the Israelis who returned to Turkey this summer were not necessarily Arab, and that some companies have even begun sending their employees on vacations to Turkish resorts.