Passing of the Open Skies agreement
In 2013 the Open Skies agreement was signed. Europe-Israel air transportation will be gradually opened up over the next few years; by 2018 the market will be fully open, with no restrictions on the number of direct flights between Israel and Europe. This will allow carriers to fly from anywhere in Europe to Israel, therefore allowing more flights and a gradual decrease in prices. This will raise outbound tourism, as well as increasing inbound tourism.
Online and mobile travel sales increase
Online and mobile travel sales are increasing in all areas of travel and tourism. Mobile applications such as Hulyo and Hadaka Hatishim are very influential in the market. As Israel has one of the highest percentages of smartphone ownership in the world, mobile applications are very successful, and therefore the probability of purchases through mobile applications is very high. In addition to mobile applications, social media is very influential in the market; therefore companies take extra initiatives when it comes to social media advertisements. Consumers are easily influenced by social networks, and even use the content for decision-making. Physically present agents are declining due to this factor.
“Pillar of Defence” affects tourism at the beginning of 2013
The travel and tourism industry took quite a hit at the very beginning of 2013, as a result of the military operation known as “Pillar of Defence” in November 2012. Due to security threats, there was a large decrease in inbound and outbound travel. Travel and tourism was affected in all areas. Fewer people travelled by air, and fewer stayed in hotels and other accommodation. The travel and tourism industry, however, recovered from this very quickly. The Tourism Ministry invested in the promotion of travel and tourism through video marketing and other such promotional efforts.
Health and wellness tourism is on the rise
In the last three years there was a strong focus on health and wellness tourism. The country is known for its advances in medical technology and specialised doctors, which makes it an ideal candidate for medical tourism. Therefore, medical tourism has a significant effect on tourism as a whole. Although medical tourism adds great financial value to the market, in June 2011 a regulation was published, however never enacted, proclaimed that: all hospitals must give first priority to residents of the country; a director must be appointed in every hospital to monitor medical tourism; and that medical tourism must remain at 5% capacity at every hospital. This regulation, however, was never officially enacted, and doctors continue to expand their medical tourism business. This causes a great deal of tension, as first priority should be given to local residents.
Low-cost charter flights are a game-changer
As a result of the Open Skies agreement prices are decreasing, and the popularity of low-cost charter flights is rising. Companies such as easyJet and Wizard offer flights to and from Europe at low prices. Because it is possible to establish more flights, prices are decreasing. This is revolutionising air travel, as people who were financially incapable of travelling abroad are now beginning to take trips outside of the country. More low-cost charter companies will enter the market. For example, El Al, the leading airline, is launching a low-cost carrier known as UP, which will offer cheaper flights to specific destinations.
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The Travel And Tourism in Israel market research report includes:
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