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Alanya no longer attracting Israeli cruise-ship passengers

ISTANBUL | 11/24/2011 12:00:00 AM |

The streets of Alanya, a seaside resort town in southern Turkey, are devoid of Israeli cruise tourists this year due to continued political tensions between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

The streets of Alanya, a seaside resort town in southern Turkey, are devoid of Israeli cruise tourists this year due to continued political tensions between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

In 2009, 36,164 Israeli tourists came to Alanya on 52 different cruise ships. In 2010 this number sharply dropped to 11,342 on only 18 ships. Since January 2011, however, the number has fallen to zero, according to data gathered by Doğan news agency.

“Before the economic crisis, Israeli tourists comprised 80 percent of the ships that docked at Alanya’s port. Now English and American tourists are showing the most interest,” Alanya Port Authority deputy head Müfit Kaptanoğlu told the agency, adding that Alanya annually received 9,000 cruise tourists from different countries.

Israeli tourists have also boycotted the airline and hotel industries, according to data. The number of Israeli airline passengers has dropped by as much as six times. In 2008 there were 317,912 Israeli tourists staying in the region’s luxury resorts and five-star hotels. This year, only 49,000 Israeli tourists chose to stay in the area’s hotels.

There has been an approximately 85 percent drop in the number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey between 2009 and 2011, according to figures from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

The sharpest drop was from 2009 to 2010, when the number of Israeli tourists fell from 38,795 to 5,941, the data showed.

Syrian tourists are also staying away, according to Gülçin Güner, the president of the Alanya Tourism Managers’ Foundation. “Last year Turkey and Syria removed visa requirements between the two countries,” she told the agency. “Now, there is a revolt in Syria and relations with Turkey are at an impasse. We are forced to look for new markets.”

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