In an effort to attract Indian tourists, Israel has increased its promotional budgetary allocation to USD 2.5 million over the last two years and plans to ease visa norms.
Israel attracts worldwide tourists and is an explorer’s paradise. With archaeological sites, a rich culture, museums, culinary delights, modern attractions and friendly people, the country has something to offer to every kind of traveller.
Israel achieved a growth of 13 pc in 2016, over the previous year, creating a new record with 44,672 Indian tourists visiting the country. The ministry is hoping to maintain its double digit growth figures in 2017 as well.
Looking to boost tourist traffic from Tier II Indian cities, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism conducted their first roadshow of 2017 in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad on February 18, 20 and 22 respectively. The roadshow was conducted in a networking workshop format with two DMCs from Israel and was attended by over 100 travel agents in each city.
Hassan Madah, Director – Israel Ministry of Tourism, India, said, “Israel is an emerging destination for the Indian travellers and tourist arrivals has been growing from India to Israel over the last couple of years. We wanted to tap new markets, so we decided to conduct roadshows in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad this year. The response we received in all three cities has been encouraging and promising. We are working towards increasing leisure and MICE travellers while continuing our focus on existing segments using different mediums, including investing in advertising campaigns and continuing to build and strengthen our travel trade relationships in the Indian market.”
About 50,000 Indians are travelling to Israel every year and there is a huge potential in the Indian market. Indian tourists generally spend more than the average tourist, which also makes them an attractive target. The marketing budget has been increased ten times, to USD 2.5 million, compared to what it was two years ago.
Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, Amir Halevi said, “We realise that India is going to be one of the top three countries sending tourists to Israel and so, we have started to invest a lot in marketing our tourism potential there.”
Israel has also planned to ease the visa norms for Indians. As India is an emerging market for incoming tourism to Israel, the Tourism Ministry has submitted a request to ease the visa restrictions on Indian tour groups to visit the country.
“The visa process is now better and hopefully would be even easier. A tourist from India looking to get visa stamped on paper can get it that way and there will really be no problem with that,” added Halevi.
El Al provides direct connectivity between India and Israel, with four weekly flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv. Air India is expected to introduce direct flights to Israel this year.
“Hopefully, Air India would soon start direct flights between India and Tel Aviv, which is going to be a game changer, increasing manifold the number of tourists coming from India to Israel. The number of tourists from China to Israel doubled in one year after the start of direct flights by Hainan Airlines. We expect something similar with India,” Halevi said.
Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, Nazareth, Haifa, Akko, Masada and Negev Desert are some famous tourist destinations of Israel.