During the past decade, the Israeli government has signed several aviation agreements with the European Union countries, which have been termed as the “Open Sky Reform”. The agreements made it easier for new airlines to enter Israel, which sell basic low cost flights, and also allowed the increase of flight frequencies to the country and reduced prices to many destinations. The reform led to a significant increase in the number of Israelis flying abroad.
The month of August, when the children, as well as some of the workers, are on vacation, is considered the traditional time of vacation, while for us it is an opportunity to examine the vacation habits of Israel. According to CBS’s Social Survey of 2017, more than half (54%) of Israelis went on vacation in Israel in the year prior to survey, while the percentage of Israelis traveling abroad was 46%.
A comparative examination of the travel patterns of residents of large cities shows that Jerusalem residents travel the least. Only about 40% of the residents of Jerusalem took a vacation in Israel and less than one-third (31%) of the city’s residents went on vacation abroad. While Jerusalem has the lowest rate, Tel Aviv shows the highest rate of vacationers: about 60% of the city’s residents vacationed in Israel, and a higher rate of 65% traveled abroad.
In the rest of the cities, about half of the residents went on holiday in Israel, and a similar percentage went on vacation abroad. For example, in Haifa a rate of 52% took a vacation in Israel, in Rishon Lezion and Petah Tikva, 54%. For a vacation abroad the percentages were 53% in Haifa, 52% in Rishon Lezion, and 49% in Petach Tikva.
It can be assumed that the source of the gaps in the vacation patterns lie in the composition of the population in each of the cities. Jerusalem has a high proportion of residents of low socio-economic status and families with many children. Religious and ultra-Orthodox families, who adhere to the laws of kashrut, also require the preparation and adaptation of the vacation destination to their needs. These reasons, which cause higher holiday prices, along with a lower level of disposable income by the city’s residents, apparently reduce the number of vacations compared to residents of other cities.