Turkish tourism companies rose on expectations that Israeli tourist arrivals to Turkey will rebound after an apology by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Israeli army’s killing of nine Turks three years ago.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange’s tourism index gained 1.5 percent to 5978.07 at 4:15 p.m. in Istanbul, heading for its highest level in almost two months. The Istanbul Stock Exchange National 100 Index gained 0.4 percent.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 22 apologized to Turkey for the deaths, which occured during a May 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Turkish aid ship headed for the Gaza Strip. The number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey dropped to 83,740 in 2012 from 558,000 in 2008 as Turkey broke off diplomatic relations and tensions between the two countries increased after the raid.

“Today’s gains are related to developments regarding Israel, with investors expecting an increase in tourist arrivals,” Nalan Ozdemir, an analyst at Ekinciler Yatirim in Istanbul, said in a phone interview.

Izmir-based Altinyunus Cesme Turistik Tesisler AS gained as much as 14 percent, its biggest gain since February 2007. More than 372,000 shares changed hands, almost 11 times the stock’s three-month average daily volume. Marti Otel Isletmeleri AS, an operator of resort hotels in Turkey’s southwest, rose 2.6 percent.

Editors: Benjamin Harvey and Mark Sweetman. To contact the reporter on this story: Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at tbilgic2@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net.

Photo Credit: Tourists swim at the beach in Bodrum, Turkey. Yilmaz Ovunc / Flickr