Egypt's turmoil drives Russian tourists to Israel

Dalia Farouk, Friday 22 Jul 2011

A growth of 21 per cent in the number of Russians vacationing in Israel in 2011 drives a very prosperous Israeli tourism season

A beach in Tel Aviv (Photo: Reuters)

The number of Russian tourists visiting Israel has increased by 21 per cent in half1 2011 over half1 2010, according to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

According to Novosti, the Russian state news agency, observers see that wave of unrest sweeping Arab countries such as Egypt and Tunisia has driven Russian tourists to visit Israel.

Tourists have also become reluctant to visit other neighbouring Arab countries such as Morocco or Lebanon for fear of outbreaks.

Egypt used to be the number one destination for Russian tourists with around 2.3 million Russians visiting Egypt in 2010. Such a status was scrapped after the 25 January revolution.

Russians seem to have given up their Egyptian vacations, mostly to South Sinai beach resorts, with those in Israel, just across the border. In June 2011, over 20,000 Russian visited Israel, a 72 per cent increase over June 2010.

Total number of tourists visiting Israel reached 1.6 million in Half1 2011, a growth of 14 per cent over Half1 2010.

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