The walls of Ben-Gurion airport are witness to a sight not seen in months as Israelis fill the airport like the pre-coronavirus days of yore.
It seems as if tens of thousands of Israeli booked tickets out of the country as soon as they heard the announcement of another nationwide lockdown on Sunday evening. All travel agencies throughout Israel have reported a sudden and sharp rise in sales.
The majority of Israelis chose (out of the quite limited options of countries accepting Israeli tourists) to spend their quarantine in Greece and flights to Crete, Rhodes and Athens are departing Wednesday through Friday.
Some Israelis are traveling to Bulgaria and Croatia, which also accept Israeli tourists, although the Health Ministry stated on Monday that the two countries may soon have their green status revoked, forcing Israeli to quarantine upon their return home.
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“Over the last 48 hours, and especially since last night, we’ve seen a jump in demand for overseas bookings,” said Gil Stav, deputy manager of Israir’s marketing and sales department. “Most of the demand has been for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and people are booking flights for a long period of 10 days, two weeks or even more.”
“We succeeded in expanding our flight schedule to the green destinations and added over five new flights departing Wednesday through Friday before the chag. And despite the fact that a final decision hasn’t been made about the scope of activity at Ben Gurion Airport after Rosh Hashanah, we are also seeing an increase in bookings for next week.”
An employee of a company that offers vacation packages with flights through the Greek airline Blue Bird Airlines said that bookings have doubled and continue to increase. “Thursday is expected to be the busiest day at Ben-Gurion Airport since the pandemic began. Blue Bird alone is operating eight full flights on Thursday.”
“There is a very high demand for Greece especially and then for Turkey, Bulgaria and Croatia,” an Airports Authority source said. “Eilat is closed and the demand for vacations abroad has risen sharply in recent days. People don’t want to be stuck at home for three weeks.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)