Israeli tourist numbers to Turkey cut in half in 2011
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News | 6/28/2011 12:00:00 AM |
The number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey between January and May this year decreased by about 59 percent compared to the same period last year.
The number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey between January and May this year decreased by about 59 percent compared to the same period last year, according to data published by the Tourism Ministry.
The figure stands in stark contrast to last year, when figures showed a 133 percent increase over the same time period in 2009.
About 30,000 tourists from Israel visited Turkey in the first five months of the year, compared to the 72,500 Israeli tourists who came to Turkey during the same period in 2010. The decrease was even sharper for May, when only 6,417 tourists from Israel came to Turkey, compared to 18,295 in the same month last year.
Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been strained since a May 31, 2010, raid by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of an international flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. The raid led to the death of eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent.
Diplomatic tension, however, has not hampered mutual trade between the two countries, with trade between Israel and Turkey increasing by 25 percent between 2009 and 2010 and by 40 percent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year. Bilateral trade by the end of last year peaked at $3.44 billion, up from $2.58 billion in 2009.
Meanwhile, the total number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey during the January-May period hit 9 million, marking a 14.56 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to data recently published by the ministry on its official website.
Some 3.3 million foreign tourists visited the country just in May, marking a 4.28 percent increase compared to May 2010.
German tourists accounted for 15 percent of all visitors for the January-May period, topping the list. Russia, Iran, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria followed Germany in tourist traffic to Turkey. In May, Russia tourists assumed the top rank, followed by Germany and the U.K.
About 235,000 foreign tourists that visited Turkey in May, accounting for 7.15 percent of the total, were day trippers, according to the data.