The summer of 2010 will be remembered as the best summer of all times in terms of Israeli tourism traffic. A record 2.69 million travelers have thus far passed through Ben-Gurion Airport in incoming and outgoing flights, representing a 4% increase over 2009's figures.
In August 2010, the highest number of travelers of all times passed through the airports gates with 1.48 million tourists and Israelis alike flying on 9,683 flights.
"The big news of summer 2010 is that there is life after Turkey," said Ronen Carasso, VP marketing for Issta Lines. "Before the summer, there were concerns that the end of flights to Turkey would result in not enough alternative spots for all those going on a sunbathing vacations. But as it turned out, there were many alternatives that were just as good."
There was a significant increase in flights to the Greek islands and Burgos, Bulgaria. Many vacationers also swapped their usual all-inclusive deals for vacations and treks in the cities of Western Europe.
The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) is currently preparing for the peak season of the Jewish High Holidays. According to estimates, another 1.185 travelers are expected to pass through Ben-Gurion Airport, an increase of 13% over the last High Holiday period.
The peak travel dates will be September 5 and the week following Rosh Hashana. During each of these periods, more than 50,000 travelers are expected to fly in and out of Israel.
Between September 5-7, some 18,000 Breslev Hassidim are slated to fly to Uman, Ukraine to visit the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. They will leave Tel Aviv on about 100 flights.
If the forecasts in tourism growth for outgoing tourism in August come to fruition, the July-August numbers will stand at 1.2 million outgoing tourists, a record number of Israelis traveling abroad during the summer months. The previous records were set in 2009 with 1.125 outgoing tourists and before that in 2008 with 1.1 million outgoing tourists.
"The peak season at the airport will extend a bit beyond the High Holiday period," said IAA Director-General Kobi Mor. "We will continue with our special deployment to allow for a free flow of passengers during the holiday season."
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