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The annual Passover holiday exodus commenced yesterday, with Ben Gurion International Airport experiencing twice the normal number of passengers.

The U.S. topped the destinations list for the 50,200 passengers, followed by Britain and Italy.

During the Passover holiday period (April 14-28 ), a total of 578,000 passengers are expected to pass through Ben Gurion Airport on 3,710 flights, an increase of 14 percent over the same time last year. "Passover this year is showing very high numbers of activity for tour groups abroad. This is because Passover and Easter coincide," explained Kobi Mor, Director General of the Israel Airport Authority.

The most popular destinations for outgoing and incoming flights are the U.S., Italy, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and Greece. One surprising figure released yesterday was that the number of passengers traveling to Turkey topped those traveling to Greece. Airport statistics show that 1,646 persons will travel to Turkey today compared to 1,489 to Greece.

Almost 3,000 travelers will fly to the United States today, while 2,050 will head for Britain. Sunday will be even busier with 50,500 people scheduled to pass through the airport on 322 landings and takeoffs.

The day for passengers to expect long queues at the baggage carousels will be Wednesday 27 April, which will be the most crowded for returning travelers. A total of 47,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport, with 289 scheduled takeoffs and landings.

Away from the airport, some 25,000 tourists are expected to cross into Egypt and Sinai at the Taba crossing, despite current terror alerts.

This is a significant drop from the numbers that crossed during the September 2010 holiday season, when 45-50,000 visitors went into Sinai. The figures are similar, however, to Passover 2010, when there were also terror warnings in place.