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 previously 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.