Israelis ignoring Bangkok travel warning - for now
More than 100,000 Israelis visit Thailand every year, said Issta VP-marketing Ronen Carasso. It is Israelis' second most popular long-haul destination, after the United States.
Israelis haven't started canceling trips to Thailand in the wake of the severe travel warning for Bangkok issued Friday, but travel agents say the impact may be yet to come.
Thailand is in the middle of its peak tourist season - the weather is pleasant and dry.
Eyal Kashdan, CEO of Flying Carpet, said the company's agents had received a few calls from customers who wanted to know if they'd be charge cancellation fees if they decided not to go, but that no one had actually canceled a trip.
"The problem is with future reservations. Even though now is the best time to visit Thailand, I'm guessing that given the warning, people will prefer to book other destinations."
More than 100,000 Israelis visit Thailand every year, said Issta VP-marketing Ronen Carasso. It's Israelis' second most popular long-haul destination, after the United States, he said.
Most of them spend only a small portion of their time in Bangkok, sometimes just flying in and out of Thailand's capital city, he added.
Walla Tours CEO Ariel Atias said he didn't expect young Israeli backpackers to change their plans due to the warning. Older travelers may decide to delay their trip by a few days, depending on future developments, he added.
Experience has shown that travelers are much more likely to change their plans following natural disasters than terror warnings, Carasso added.
Dana, who is planning to fly to Thailand for her honeymoon this week, said she didn't plan to cancel the trip, but that she and her husband would spend time in Bangkok only if things calmed down.
Shlomi, a tourist currently in Bangkok, said the security presence around tourist-heavy Khao San Road was heavier, but otherwise it was business as usual.
Tourism to Thailand was down over the past few months due to major flooding in October and November. In December, 16,500 people flew from Ben-Gurion International Airport to and from Thailand, a 16% decrease compared with December 2010, the Israel Airports Authority reported.
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