Israelis opt for vacation abroad seeking affordable prices

Transportation minister claims robust economy behind travel surge while expert claim high cost for domestic vacations push Israelis to travel; study finds Israel the most expensive country in the world when it comes to tourism

Iris Lifshitz Klieger, Roy Rubinstein|
The Ministry of Transport on Wednesday said 2.2 million passengers were expected to pass through the Ben Gurion International Airport in June, a 4% increase compared to the all-time peak season in 2019 adding that 9.2 million were expected through October, a 9% rise in air travel with Turkey appearing to be the most favored destination.
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תורים בנתב"ג
תורים בנתב"ג
The Ben Gurion Airport
(Photo: Yariv Katz)
The ministry said all flight requests submitted by airlines in order to expand their scheduled flights to and from Israel, were accepted. Turkey appeared to be the most favored destination.
Transport Minister Miri Regev claimed that the increase in Israeli travel was an indication of a robust economy as well as a positive outlook on the country, by its citizens but not all experts agree.
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Most popular destinations in June
Most popular destinations in June
Most popular destinations in June
(Photo: Ynet)
CEO of the Tour Operators Association Yossi Fattal told Ynet that Israelis opt to vacation abroad mostly because domestic tourism is too expensive for them. "Israel is the most expensive country in the world when it comes to tourism, according to a study published by The World Economic Forum that examined 117 countries," he said.
"Minister Regev should be concerned about those figures. Ultimately, the blame should be directed solely at the government for not having long-term infrastructure plans to bolster domestic tourism," he said. "In the past, the government was pleased about every tourist who arrived and every Israeli who chose to vacation domestically. Israelis spend their money abroad instead of supporting the local economy and tourism jobs."
Fattal also expressed concern about the crowded conditions that await those traveling abroad through the Ben Gurion Airport, Israel's main gateway to the world.
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יוסי פתאל והשר רגב - אותם נתונים, פרשנויות שונות
יוסי פתאל והשר רגב - אותם נתונים, פרשנויות שונות
Miri Regev, Yossi Fattal
(Photo: Hadar Yoavian, Incoming Tour Operators Association)
Regev said that since taking office, direct flight routes to Turkey, Japan, Ireland Nigeria and South Africa were opened. and 13 new airlines were approved to operate flights to and from Israel. "I have ensured that we are prepared to provide the best service to the traveling public," she said.
In its statement, the ministry said that 2023 marks a decade since the Open Skies Agreement was signed with the EU and two years since the Abraham Accords. "They are two historical milestones in the development of Israel's aviation ties," the statement claimed.
"The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) made the preparations needed to meet the passenger influx by increasing staff recruitments, bolstering passenger services, and increasing the presence of managerial level personnel in the terminals. Airport staff will ease travel for families, by eliminating unnecessary waiting time in security checks and will deploy screening technologies to allow easier access for passengers with hand luggage only," the ministry said.
Self-service kiosks for passport control and online check-in were also in place to make leaving and entering the country a less drawn-out process.
"The flight-bound public is requested to arrive no later than three hours before departure time, check in online from home, and practice patience and tolerance," the ministry said.
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