Eilat is an extremely popular vacation destination in Israel, especially in the summer and during the Passover vacation, the two peak vacation times. Vacation prices in Israel's southernmost city soar in accordance with demand and occupancy rates. Nevertheless, a study by hotel price comparison website HotelsCombined found that in comparison with the extent of searches during the corresponding period in 2016, the proportion of those looking for a vacation in Eilat was halved.
What are the alternatives? While fewer Israelis are searching for vacation solutions in Eilat, the extent of searches for a hotel in Cyprus has skyrocketed 400% in comparison with the corresponding period last year.
This should come as no surprise. Turkey has been eliminated as a vacation destination for the Israeli traveler (which is likely to change in view of the efforts by Turkish travel agencies to bring Israeli tourists back to the vacation destinations in the country), and has been replaced by a clear preference for the Greek islands.
At the same time, since the prices in Greece have gone up this year, among other things due to an influx of tourists from other countries, including Russia, searching for an alternative to Turkey, Cyprus has been, and still is this summer, a destination embraced by Israelis. This July saw Cyprus boast a 77% increase in the number of travelers to it, in comparison with July 2016 (according to a report by the Israel Airports Authority on flights from Ben Gurion Airport).
Another factor is the fact that tourist providers and airlines are conducting direct flights from Israel to Cyprus, including El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL), Arkia Airlines Ltd., Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd., Aegean Airlines, Blue Air, Cobalt Aero, and Tus Airways, which posted 322% growth in the number of its passengers in July, reaching a total of over 14,000. The airline is offering direct flights from Haifa taking 40 minutes and direct flights from Ben Gurion Airport, mostly to Larnaca.
The prices, it emerges, are rising with the supply. Figures compiled by software company Amadeus show that the prices actually paid for a vacation in Cyprus rose this year, with the average price per traveler in July 2017 being $621 (to Larnaca or Paphos), compared with an average price of $534 to these destinations in July 2016.
HotelCombined's search figures show that the Israeli tourist prefers a vacation in Greek Cyprus, and 76% of the searches are for hotels in the Greek part of the island. The town of Kyrenia in the Turkish part of the island attracts 14% of the searches, and the rest of the searches are divided among small towns.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on August 21, 2017
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