Sunday, May 01, 2005

The crowds will not be beaten....

That Israel's roads, rail and tourist attractions were packed over the Pesach holiday came as a surprise to some people.
"travel spots were simply not equipped or organized enough to deal with the holiday crowds; some travel destinations went as far as posting announcements asking the public not to arrive, while others simply collapsed, quietly."
The same people will no doubt be surprised when they try to find an inch of space in one of Israel's many public parks with their barbecues on Yom Ha'atzmaut in 2 weeks time.

Schools close down over Pesach and kids need entertaining. In a small country, with a limited array of tourist spots the result is gridlock - every year - so to paraphrase, why is this year so different from all other years? This is not a peculiarly Israeli malaise as anyone who has ever sat on the M25 motorway on an English Bank Holiday can tell you - back then we set out under cover of darkness in order to avoid the jams and I assume that it's similar pretty much anywhere when there's a national holiday.

The timing of President Putin's visit added strain to the system as roads were closed down and security tightened for visits to Yad Vashem and the Kottel; the former a particular draw with 8,000 - 10,000 visitors a day. The wisdom of this trip must be questioned although my assumption is that this was when he could fit us in and therefore it was deemed politic to welcome him.

The discomfort caused notwithstanding, it's a tremendously positive sign to see the growth in tourism, both internal and external and people getting out and about over Pesach. The difference from Pesach just 3 short years ago when the Park Hotel was bombed and the only people out of their homes were those who had received call up notices, is testament to the strength of the people who live in this country.


1 comment:

celestial blue said...

yet another demonstration of how it is Israelis have survived through this intifada... by living life to it's fullest and enjoying every moment. That's one thing the Palestinians have not been able to take away..