El Al Pushing New Route to Eilat at Tourism Fair

El Al's booth at the International Mediterranean Tourism Market fair , which started yesterday will be dedicated to its new route to Eilat.

An El Al source says that like every year, the company will focus its efforts on promoting its newest destination. This year its marketing efforts will be directed toward new domestic flights.

Last week Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz gave El Al the go-ahead to run three flights a week between Ben-Gurion International Airport and Eilat airport.

Participants from 35 countries are exhibiting at the IMTM fair yesterday and today, including Japan, Portugal, Russia, Armenia and Estonia, which is participating in the fair for the first time. The exhibition will be open to the public at no charge from 3:00 P.M.

Danny Zimet, vice chairman of the Israel-Turkey Business Council, confirmed that Turkey will also have a booth, which will be dedicated to Istanbul.

"We feel that Istanbul should be a travel destination for Israelis this year, both as a unique city as well as by virtue of the hundreds of cultural and entertainment events to be offered," Zimet said.

Also operating booths at the fair will be a number of Anatolian clubs which have long attracted Israelis. Tourism from Israel to Turkey plummeted 44% in 2009 due to political spats.

Turkey saw a total of 27 million visitors in 2009, including about a million Iranians. Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay is currently visiting Iran with the aim of strengthening its ties with the country in various areas, including tourism, according to press reports.

Iran and Turkey signed a tourism agreement in 2008, and a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening the agreement will be examined during his visit. Iran and Turkey, Gunay says, share a religion and a cultural heritage, which pose a potential for strengthening their ties, including tourism. ()