TOURISM MINISTRY INCREASES ITS MARKETING INVESTMENT IN CHINA AS THE REFORM IN VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR ISRAEL TAKES EFFECT
TOURISM MINISTER DR. UZI LANDAU: “The Tourism Ministry has identified the tourism potential in China, defining it as one of the leading destinations in its campaign for emerging markets. As a result, we will work to increase the number of incoming tourists from China to Israel over the next few years. The two countries are rich in ancient history and heritage and I am sure that Chinese tourists will find Israel a source of inspiration.”
The Israel Government Tourist Office in China is organizing a Road Show in three cities this week (8-12 July): Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. 500 leading Chinese travel agents are invited to attend the Road Show, some of them being specialists in the Middle East market. Following the seminars, which will expose the participants to the Israeli tourism product, there will be a series of round-table meetings between Israeli and Chinese tour operators to encourage cooperation. The ministry has also produced a booklet in Chinese, featuring business profiles of the Israeli companies participating in the Road Show.
The Road Show, which is accompanied by extensive advertising in the trade and mainstream media, will also feature attractions such as Israeli food, Dead Sea mud treatments etc.
The Israel Embassy in Beijing recently announced the implementation of reforms for Chinese visitors receiving entry visas to Israel, in order to encourage tourism. These include, among others, an option for a visa for independent travelers without the need for assistance from a local tour operator; a simpler procedure for issuing business visas to Israel and for bank guarantees for residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (where Israel has consular offices. It should be noted that, presently, Israeli consular services are not available worldwide due to a work dispute by Foreign Ministry employees). These easier procedures are part of a program to make Israel more accessible to the Chinese tourist and to encourage airlines to operate flights to Israel in the near future.
In recent years, Israel has become an attractive tourism destination for the Chinese visitor, with an increase of 27% in incoming tourism from China during the first five months of 2013 versus the same period last year (and a 45% increase on 2011). China is the most important source country worldwide for tourism, with an increase of 20% in the numbers of visitors from China to international destinations during 2010-2011. In 2012, more than 20,000 visitors from China arrived in Israel.