The economic situation in Israel and the weakening of the shekel against the dollar have a significant impact on the tourism industry. After Passover and relatively weaker-than-expected weeks, industry sources report a slowdown in the pace of orders for the coming summer as well.
"The madness we saw just after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. People are still flying and we will still see Ben Gurion Airport full, but not as we expected," a senior source in Israel's tourism industry told Israel Hayom. "Suppliers have bought a lot of hotel rooms and seats on airplanes, and many of them have not yet been sold. We were sure it would sell out much faster."
An example of what the source said can be seen on Arkia flights to Madrid. The Spanish capital is considered one of the most sought-after destinations in Europe, but the Israeli airline, which was supposed to operate flights there in June, canceled all of them, and at the moment the airline's next flight to the destination will depart only in July. It is not yet clear whether further flights will be canceled, and this is just a small example of the recent difficulties experienced in the tourism industry.
"We will still see Ben Gurion Airport full" (archive), photo: Yossi Zeliger
Now, the travel industry is worried about further cancellations by other airlines. Quite a few planes take off at relatively low occupancy, and if the situation continues, there is a chance that we will see more airlines canceling flights due to unfeasibility.
"Last year we saw an 'explosion' that we also did not foresee, which came after three years of COVID-19, when people were thirsty to go on vacation," the source concluded. "Now they're calmer after flying abroad a few times in the past year, and people are thinking twice about what to do with their money."
At the same time, the dollar exchange rate reached a high of about 4.5 years, trading a few days ago at NIS 3.73. As of this writing, the shekel is trading at NIS 3.71. The strengthening of foreign currencies against the shekel also affects flight prices, which have risen markedly in the past year. All this makes many Israelis think several times before booking their next vacation overseas.
Fear of further cancellations. Ben Gurion Airport empty of passengers (archive), photo: AFP.
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