Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

DE­SPITE the num­ber of coun­tries hav­ing re­cently warned their cit­i­zens against trav­el­ing to cer­tain coun­tries in­clud­ing Turkey, the de­ci­sions of tourists who con­tinue to choose Turkey as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion have de­bunked such claims. The lat­est ex­am­ple came from Is­raeli cit­i­zens, as CEOs of the eight largest com­pa­nies from Is­rael, who also is­sued a travel warn­ing to its cit­i­zens about Turkey and other coun­tries, de­cided to come to An­talya along with their fam­i­lies, stress­ing that they feel safe in the coun­try.

De­spite the re­cent Is­raeli Coun­tert­er­ror Bureau’s warn­ings to its cit­i­zens against trav­els to the Si­nai Penin­sula and Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries, the CEOs of Is­rael’s top eight com­pa­nies pre­ferred to spend their hol­i­days with their fam­i­lies in Turkey’s tourist cap­i­tal of An­talya. The CEOs and their fam­i­lies, who came to the city for a four-day hol­i­day, were trans­ferred to a five-star ho­tel in An­talya’s touris­tic Belek dis­trict.

Kazim Öz­can, a mem­ber of the Temacc Com­pany Board of Direc­tors re­spon­si­ble for or­ga­niz­ing the hol­i­day for the top rep­re­sen­ta­tives and their fam­i­lies, noted that de­spite the warn­ings from Is­rael against trav­el­ing to Turkey, CEOs of the world-renown Is­raeli com­pa­nies chose to spend their hol­i­day in An­talya, where Öz­can claims there are no se­cu­rity prob­lems.

Öz­can said that while there is much pro­pa­ganda be­ing spread by Ger­many and other European coun­tries about not vis­it­ing Turkey in the cur­rent con­di­tions, the de­ci­sion of the man­agers of the top com­pa­nies from Is­rael to choose Turkey and its touris­tic hub An­talya is highly im­por­tant.

Nofei Is­rael com­pany CEO Hanoch Kass, who stated that Nofei has con­sid­ered the state­ments over Turkey’s safety, said that they de­cided to go on a hol­i­day in An­talya de­spite warn­ings from Is­rael.

“Turkey is a safe coun­try and the two coun­tries have had a good re­la­tion­ship for years. I have vis­ited An­talya many times be­fore and I love the city. The ser­vices we are of­fered can­not be found so eas­ily any­where else. Turkey is the best in this business and has no com­peti­tors. I my­self own in­ter­na­tional ho­tels and no one can com­pete with Turkey on this point. At the same time, Is­rael is fol­low­ing suit as well. It is an or­ga­ni­za­tion be­ing at­tended by the peo­ple who plan to in­vest in Turkey;, peo­ple who want to de­velop re­la­tions with Turkey and know the brand value of Turkey,” Kass said.

Re­gard­ing Is­rael’s travel warn­ings, Kass pointed out that the ter­ror threat is not only a problem for Turkey, “Is­rael’s warn­ing is not just for Turkey, it is a gen­eral warn­ing. We feel safe here. We are happy to come here and we rec­om­mend that ev­ery­one comes to Turkey,” he added.

Mean­while, An­talya Gov­er­nor Münir Karaoğlu previ- ously said the num­ber of Is­raeli tourists vis­it­ing An­talya last year in­creased by 60 per­cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, with ho­tel and flight book­ings also ris­ing at the same rate.

Karaoğlu re­cently also said that the best year in terms of tourism be­tween Is­rael and Turkey was 2008, not­ing: “A to­tal of 558,000 Is­raeli tourists came to Turkey in 2008 and about 330,000 of them vis­ited An­talya. Also, a to­tal of 169,000 Is­raeli na­tion­als vis­ited An­talya last year.” The num­ber of Is­raeli tourists com­ing to An­talya in 2016 soared by 60 per­cent when com­pared to 2015. Kar­aloğlu stated that they ex­pect this up­ward trend in ho­tel and flight book­ings to con­tinue into 2017, as well.

Un­der­lin­ing that one of the most at­trac­tive fea­tures of An­talya for Is­raeli tourists is its prox­im­ity to Is­rael, Kar­aloğlu stated it takes 50 min­utes to fly be­tween An­talya and Tel Aviv. He ar­gued that, with this be­ing the case, sched­ul­ing di­rect flights be­tween the two cities could be a great ad­van­tage for trav­el­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Kar­aloğlu, Turk­ish Air­lines (THY) is work­ing on ini­ti­at­ing flights be­tween An­talya and Tel Aviv to make trans­port be­tween the two cities eas­ier and more com­fort­able for vis­i­tors. Kar­aloğlu also stated that there are im­por­tant cruise ports in An­talya, with about 500 cruise ships ar­riv­ing in the city every year.

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