Giving a Boost to Tourism

State to subsidize Manchester-Eilat flights

The Tourism Ministry will spend up to $10,000 per flight to subsidize charter flights from the United Kingdom to Israel. The ministry announced yesterday it had signed a "safety-net agreement" with Longwood Holidays, which operates charter flights on the Manchester-Luton-Eilat route. The deal is for the 2006-7 winter season, and is still awaiting approval by the Finance Ministry. The agreement promises up to $10,000 per charter flight, for a maximum of 25 flights during the winter season. The total commitment to Longwood is for up to $1.25 million. The proposed agreement will cover 60-90 percent of the costs of empty seats. The forecast cost of a flight this year is $94,000 in a plane with 233 seats. The price for each passenger is $400 according to the deal, but in any case the total reimbursement to Longwood will be no more than $10,000 per flight. Last year Longwood brought 4,000 tourists to Israel, and the state subsidized them to the tune of NIS 1.8 million. The ministry will also subsidize brochures for Longwood at a cost of NIS 104,000.