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June 28, 2016 12:34 pm

Israel-Turkey Deal Paves Way for Boost in Commerce, Tourism

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Turkish beaches, frequented by Israelis before the severing of ties between Ankara and Jerusalem. Photo: Wikipedia.

Turkish beaches, frequented by Israelis before the severing of ties between Ankara and Jerusalem. Photo: Wikipedia. – The reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey will likely boost commercial activity between the two countries.

Uri Aldubi, chairman of the Association of Oil and Gas Exploration Industries in Israel, told Israel Hayom on Monday that the deal “creates a historic opportunity to boost cooperation on energy projects with Cyprus and Egypt, be it for domestic consumption [in those countries] or for further exportation to Europe.” Turkey, Aldubi noted, currently relies on Iran and Russia for natural gas.

In 2015, the scope of Israeli exports to Turkey dropped by about 40 percent, while bilateral trade shrunk by 24 percent from 2014.

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Despite the new chapter in Turkish-Israeli relations, it might take a while before Israeli tourists head en masse to Turkish resorts. During the past several weeks, as it became clear that a deal was about to be reached, Israelis have displayed a renewed interest in all-inclusive vacation packages to Turkey. But this will have little impact on the summer months, mainly because large unions — which usually arrange a significant percentage of the trips to Turkey — have already bought packages to other destinations. A large uptick, however, could be expected around the time of the High Holidays this fall.

“We don’t expect a drastic increase in flight reservations for Turkey in the immediate term, mainly because most Israelis have already booked their flights for this summer,” said Aviation Links Ltd. CEO Yoram Mutai. “If the prevailing trends hold, we will start seeing more demand toward the holidays.”

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