Israeli Boycott Batters Turkish Hotel Prices

The Turkish economy has lost at least $400 million as Israelis have cancelled tens of thousands of reservations in the wake of the Gaza flotilla affair.

Now would be a good time to take a Turkish vacation: The Israeli boycott is having an impact and the price of hotel rooms in the country has plummeted, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported this week.

The Turkish economy has lost at least $400 million as Israelis canceled tens of thousands of reservations after the Gaza-flotilla affair worsened the rift between the two countries.

About a month ago, Israeli naval commandos took over a protest ship bound for Gaza.

Turkey resort
Moshe Gilad

In the violent confrontation, several Turkish activists brandishing weapons including axes and metal rods were killed.

Feeling the pinch, Turkish travel agencies have pointed a finger at the government. One, Levantin Tour, has lost NIS 8.6 million, its owners reported.

The company had planned to bring 17,000 Israeli tourists to Turkey this year, but so far has brought over only 200 and has to pay hotels $1.1 million due to canceled reservations.

Other travel agencies have even gone bankrupt, said Levantin's owner, Levent Guner.

The dearth of Israeli tourists has pushed down hotel prices, too. Rooms that would rent for NIS 170 a night are now going for NIS 100 in resort towns such as Bodrum and Marmaris, the paper reported.