Travel

Israeli travel agencies see drop in interest in Turkey after security warning

After the government issued a particularly strong warning against travel to Turkey, Israeli travel agencies on Tuesday reported a clear drop in the number of air tickets purchased into the country.

Price comparison website Travelist reported a 23 percent drop in last day’s requests for holidays in Turkey (although the country is still among the top five most popular destinations among Israelis), Channel 12 reported.

Travel website Gulliver saw a sharp decline in purchases of tickets and holiday packages to Turkey on Tuesday, the company said.

“As soon as the relationship warmed up [between the two countries]Turkey has become one of the most popular destinations for Israelis,” said Ziv Rosen, CEO of Gulliver Group. “Over the past day, package bookings have dropped by almost 50% and flights by 30%. From previous similar experience, we understand that this phenomenon is expected to stabilize within a few days … The Israeli traveler has proven over the years that the need and desire to go on vacation outweigh any fears.

Israeli security officials called and directly warned more than 100 Israeli citizens in Turkey that they were under Iranian gunpoint and asked them to return, according to a TV report on Monday.

The drop in demand has led to lower prices for tickets to Antalya on the Julio travel app and has actually resulted in a surge in ticket sales of more than 30%, said Dubik Gal, the app’s marketing director.

The Israeli National Security Council said there is a specific threat to Israelis from “Iranian terrorist agents” in Turkey and neighboring countries.

View of Istanbul with the famous Galata Tower on January 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

The alleged Iranian plot could be a retaliation for the assassination of a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer last week, which Iran attributed to Israel.

On Monday evening, Channel 12 reported that Israeli security officials called and directly warned more than 100 Israeli citizens in Turkey that they were under Iranian gunpoint and asked them to return. The report was without a source.

Despite the highly inconsistent recent warnings, recommendations for travel to Turkey remained stagnant at three out of four, “moderate threat” with recommendations to avoid visiting the country for non-essential reasons.

At the fourth level – “high threat” – Israelis are explicitly told not to visit the country and to leave the country if they are already there. Countries with this warning include Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iran.

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