The 18th International Mediterranean Tourism Market show in Tel Aviv
included a booth which tried to encourage Israelis to visit Turkey.
However, it appears as though the deterioration in relations between
Israel and Turkey has discouraged Israelis from visiting Turkey.
Hassan Saritepeci of the Turkish Embassy’s Cultural and Information
Office told Arutz Sheva that last year only 80,000 Israelis visited
Turkey. While that number may seem high, the year before that saw
500,000 Israelis visiting Turkey.
“There is a decline, but I think this is the end of that decline,”
Saritepeci predicted. “From now on we are expecting an increase
because right now it is a calm period. During this period, the
Israelis will go to Turkey once again.”
Interestingly enough, noted Saritepeci, despite the decline in the
number of Israelis who visit Turkey, there are many Turks who choose
to visit Israel. He said he believes the decline in the number of
Israelis stems only from political reasons.
“If the political situation improves, we’ll see a boom in travel from
Israel to Turkey,” he said, and called to focus on tourism and
travel, not on politics. “Turkey is the best tourist destination for
Israelis,” he said.
Eliko Dunemez, a Vice President of a Turkish tourism company,
reinforced Saritepeci’s remarks and sought to reassure Israelis that
Turkey is still a safe country to visit.
“[Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan says in every television interview
that he has no problem with the Israeli people,” said Dunemez. “There
is only a political problem. He emphasizes that in each interview.”