Jolanda Kappa talks about the new data and sends a message of optimism
We may have lost the Israelites of the Jewish Passover, which would not have been few, since 5,000 seats were scheduled for flights from March 23 to April 4, but there is a continuation.
Adequately vaccinated, Israel opens its borders from tomorrow, Sunday, March 21, and God willing and allowing a pandemic, starts flights to Rhodes every Thursday and Sunday, from Thursday, April 15! On one condition: that we will be open!
Why do the Israelis, who by the way, have been living in their country for a week in normal conditions, ask for what? They are asking for open shops, restaurants and a season that will not open and will close. It will go alone, until the end of October when they usually travel in masse.
Jolanda Kappa, head of Kapco Travel Services LTD, an agency that distributes tourists from Israel and the Nordic countries, and is also treasurer of the Board of the Dodecanese Tourist Association, today talks about the new prospects from the Israeli market and gives a message. optimism.
“In 2020 we all hoped that the Israeli market would be one of the first to open,” he tells me. Unfortunately this did not happen due to the pandemic conditions. Israel closed its borders by the end of August, at least. But then began a large flow of tourists, with many bookings, in a very short time.
That is, in three, four weeks of September, 7,900 tourists came, while it is noteworthy that while the tourists were here, they tried to extend their stay and there were stays that reached 28 days. We received a lot of pressure then. “After all, Rhodes is love for the Israelis.”
In 2019, how many had come?
128,000 people came to Rhodes during the period from the Jewish Passover, which they celebrated on April 19 until the end of October 2019. From this good year until the 2020 season, we had a 93.5% reduction in arrivals.
This year, according to the schedule, the flights to Rhodes would start next Tuesday, March 23. However, they were cancelled until April 14. Let’s see what we lost!
Actually. We, as an agency, have been waiting for them since March 25, while the first flight to the island was scheduled for March 23 and the flights would continue, due to the Jewish Passover, and would arrive around April 4. Only our agency for those days had planned 1,500 positions while in total the planned positions were five thousand. Israel, however, cancelled flights to Rhodes until April 14 and our “deep red” played its part. On the other hand, we must say that if they came with “deep red”, they would not be satisfied. The Israelis set as a condition for their coming, the opening of retail and catering.
As of last night (Thursday) there are new data. What decisions has the Israeli government made to open its borders and since when do we expect flights?
They open their borders from tomorrow, Sunday, March 21, and are already announcing that they are starting their programs for Greece and therefore for Rhodes on Thursday, April 15th. Our agency has planned to have the same program as in 2019. As you know, the Israelis since last week have already entered a regime of almost regularity, with open focus and retail, while over 50% of the population has done so. at the time and the second dose of the vaccine. Vaccinations of the rest of the population continue at a rapid pace.
The statement, a few days ago, of the head of Pfizer that “Netanyahu called him 30 times a day” is typical! So what are the schedules, what are the flight days?
It’s Thursday and Sunday as always and each of these days usually includes three flights. Also for this year, from June to September, the launch of the luxury cruise ship “Odyssey of the Seas” of Royal Caribbean, with a capacity of 4,100 passengers, which will start from Haifa and will make Cyprus-Rhodes-Mykonos-Santorini . Reservations are going very well at the moment.
Has anything been clarified with the tests or the vaccination certificate?
What we do know so far is that there are three ways: a test, a certificate that someone is ill, or a vaccination certificate.
How do you feel, how will the Israeli market go this year?
Definitely better than how 2020 went, which was non-existent. We are optimistic, we expect a solid season and stability, not opening and closing, that is. We hope we will do well.