The High Holidays are just around the corner, and this year there's a notably higher demand for vacations to nearby overseas destinations (Cyprus, Greece and Turkey) compared to last year.
Yom Kippur will fall on September 24-25, and Sukkot from September 29 to October 7. As a result, the days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot emerge as the most economical time for an overseas vacation.
A holiday for a couple with two children during this period costs, on average, between $1,600 and over $3,000, depending on the hotel's quality, room type and the number of meals per day.
Hila Hermolin-Ronen, vice president of Marketing and Sales at Israir, told Ynet, "This year, the extended holiday break in schools starts from Yom Kippur and lasts until after Sukkot. Therefore, we are already witnessing a rise in demand, with a 20% increase in bookings for this period compared to last year. This growth pertains to family vacations in European and Mediterranean destinations."
Ilan Shalev, deputy CEO of Holiday Lines travel agency, added, "Undoubtedly, the holiday timing this year is perfect, and by mid-September, we are essentially in a 'mini extended vacation'. The weather at holiday destinations is ideal, demand is strong and the peak season congestion of July-August dramatically decreases.
This makes hotel availability optimal for Israelis, combined with a drop in prices. On average, family packages to holiday destinations with Holiday Lines will cost about NIS 6,600 ($1,800) for a family – a couple with two children – for four-night all-inclusive stays."
Shalev added that bookings for vacations on Yom Kippur are up 45% compared to last year. "Our recommendation for those looking for deals is to finalize a vacation before the last day of Sukkot, on October 6. This is essentially a clearance sale for our holiday inventory."
Saar Foox Zvaic, CEO of the travel group Flyeast, which specializes in trips to the East, and the vice-chairperson of the Travel Agents Association, reported a 15% increase in bookings for the upcoming holidays. She explained that the likely reason for the rise is the timing of this year's vacations.
To get a sense of the available offers and price levels, we've gathered a variety of vacation packages still available from travel agencies. Prices are for a family of two adults with two children and include flights, transport and accommodations.
Antalya: Keshrey Teufa is offering a package to the Club Side Coast Hotel (5 stars) from September 26 to 29 on an all-inclusive basis, starting at $1,660 per family.
Gulliver has packages for the same hotel from September 23 to 30, starting at $2,492 per family.
On "Flying Carpet," we found a deal for the Vikingen Infinity Resort (5 stars), which includes a water park, from September 26 to 29 on an all-inclusive basis, starting at $1,769 per family.
Issta is offering a package for the same resort from October 1 to 5, starting at $2,516 per family.
Rhodes: Ophir Tours has a package for the All Senses Nautica Blue Resort & Spa - All Inclusive (5 stars) from September 26 to 29 at a price of $1,672 per family.
Keshrey Teufa is marketing a deal at the Grand Hotel (5 stars) on an all-inclusive basis, starting at $2,740 per family.
Last Minute is offering a package at the Golden Odyssey Hotel (4 stars) on an all-inclusive basis for NIS 5,499 per family.
Crete: Diesenhaus is offering a deal from September 26 to 30 at the Albatros Spa & Resort Hotel (4 stars) on a half-board basis, starting at $3,236 per family.
Ophir Tours has a package from September 26 to 29 at the Esperides Resort Crete, The Authentic Experience (5 stars), also on a half-board basis, priced at $2,452 per family.
Kos: Holiday Lines is marketing a three-night deal on various dates during Sukkot, starting from September 27, at the Kipriotis Village Resort (4 stars), which includes a water park. The package is on an all-inclusive basis and is priced at 7,999 for the entire family.
Paphos: Arkia offers a four-night deal starting on the evening of Yom Kippur (September 24) at the Venus Beach Hotel (5 stars) on a half-board basis, priced at $2,076 per family.
Cruise from Haifa Port: Sunorama, the representative of Royal Caribbean in Israel, is offering a cruise aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas. It sets sail on September 15 to Limassol and Rhodes, returning to Haifa on September 18. The price starts at $750 per person on an all-inclusive basis. Another voyage is scheduled for September 29, this time heading to Cyprus, Rhodes, and Santorini, starting at $450 per person.
2.8 million passengers in August
Approximately 2.8 million passengers are expected to travel through Ben Gurion Airport in August. The top destinations for Israelis this month will primarily be nearby locations such as Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. Many will also use the summer vacation to visit the US and France.
The Airport Authority has identified the three busiest days as August 10 (99,000 passengers), August 17 (around 100,000 passengers), and August 31 (about 100,000 passengers).
The Airport Authority has long prepared for the surge in passenger volume by increasing manpower, adding fast electronic inspection tools to reduce queues, establishing special routes for those with hand luggage, expanding the shuttle system and opening booths for swift check-ins and independent luggage dispatch.
The Transportation Ministry and the National Road Safety Authority advise passengers to check in from home (if possible), verify which terminal their flight departs from and arrive at Ben Gurion Airport no more than three hours before the flight. Travelers are also recommended to get to the airport by train or other public transportation.