Jerusalem, Dec. 3 – Israel's Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen and H.E. Minister Zayed Al Zayani signed a historic MOU in the field of tourism on Wednesday, as Israel and Bahrain continue to build upon the Abraham Accords regional peace initiative. At the ceremony in Jerusalem, Al Zayani said he and his delegation were returning to Bahrain "with lots of hope and ambition that we will forge the peace signed by our leadership, so it transmits to every Israeli and every Bahraini citizen."
Farkash-Hacohen said the visit was "dedicated to bilateral professional meetings between the two ministries, to explore new opportunities and promote tourism initiatives between our countries. Airlines, hotel representatives, travel agents and tour operators from both sides met to discuss practical plans and initiatives in the field of tourism." The MOU, the minister stressed, provides the framework to turn ideas into plans into packages. "Together, we can create packages for regional tourism, offering tourists from Brazil, China or Australia or the Philippines to visit both our countries."
The MOU is the first of its kind between Israel and the Arab states in the Gulf. It includes a number of sections on bilateral cooperation between the governments and the private sector in the field of tourism, and calls to develop various types of travel: for families, wellness, business, and others. Additionally, the MOU establishes a joined committee headed by the Ministers, which will meet regularly to promote joined ventures among travel agents, airlines, tour operators, and all relevant industry representative.
Minister Farkash-Hacoen stated she would work to open travel for Bahrain tourists as soon as possible, and stated: "Governments sign treaties, but people create peace. This is why signing a bilateral tourism MOU is so important. We are encouraging travel between our countries. We are encouraging people to meet and interact with each other. We are connecting two cultures. By doing so, we are encouraging true and lasting peace."
H.E. Al Zayani said: "You will find in us a true partner, a genuine investor and a frank friend. We feel there is a real opportunity to develop tourism between our two countries, and beyond. And we invite you and welcome you to use Bahrain as a springboard to the rest of the world, and look forward to using Israel as a springboard for us to the rest of the world."
"No doubt COVID19 put a lot of pressure on the hospitality and tourism sector," Al Zayani added. "It is our responsibility to make sure this sector is back on its feet as soon as possible. I would like to extend an open invitation to you and to all Israelis to come and visit our country."
Photo credit: Yossi Zamir (GPO)