Economy and Tourism
- Written by Philippine Embassy
Philippine Pavilion Wows Crowd at Israel's International Tourism Fair
11 February 2016, Tel Aviv, State of Israel – The Philippine pavilion at the annual International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) instantly stood out as a crowd winner during the fair's 22nd edition, which was recently held at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
The panoramic views of destinations adorning the pavilion, beautiful and upbeat videos, rich taste of Filipino delicacies, and the variety of song and dance performances, including flair bartending, attracted hundreds of visitors and showed them that, truly, "It's More Fun in the Philippines."
The Philippine pavilion was formally opened by Department of Tourism Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., who led the first DOT delegation to the IMTM, and Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial. Joining them were other DOT officials and partner travel agencies from the Philippines such as Annset Holidays, Inc., Flyeast Philippines, Intas Destination Management, Inc., Maman Aviation, Ltd., and Travel Experts, Inc.
Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Gideon Levin also visited the Philippine pavilion during the first day of the travel fair and was delighted to watch the "Tinikling" performed by members of the Filipino community in Israel.
DOT officials also held a Country Presentation on the second day of the fair. Around 50 travel and tour agencies, including business organizations, attended the event. Through videos, photos, and cultural performances, DOT officials showed why the Philippines is the next best destination for Israelis in Asia.
This is the fourth time that the Philippines has participated in the IMTM. Previous participations were done through partnership between the Philippine Embassy and the Israel-Philippines Tourism Chamber. However, this is the first time that a Philippine pavilion was organized and led by DOT which has made Israel as one of its priority markets.
In an interview with the Israeli media, Undersecretary Bengzon said: "We are trying to position the Philippines as one of the newest, most exciting, and most fun destination in Asia. Last year we had about 12,000 tourists from Israel and we grew by about 34 or 35 percent. So for us, this is a very good sign. It's an indication that the Israeli outbound travelers who, by the way, are very very sophisticated are starting to see the potential of the Philippines as an exciting destination in Asia." --
- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
The Africa You Didn’t Know.
Africa is a giant continent with no less than 54 independent nations, yet many people consider “Africa” as a single unit. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Dr. Ayo Salami explained to his audience on Sunday, at a private meeting held at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange for investors, accountants and lawyers. Dr. Salami, a distinguished graduate of the London School of Economics represents the Duet Group which controls assets to the tune of about $5 billion. He came to Tel Aviv for one day, specifically to deliver his lecture.
The event was hosted by the Israel-Africa Chamber of Commerce and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The President of the Chamber, Mr. Eli Avidar introduced the speaker and welcomed the guests.
Dr. Salami gave a broad overview of the “dark Continent”, surprising the guests with many startling statistics, including the fact that the world’s fastest growing and most consistently successful economy over the past years is not China, not India, but Botswana.
Over 1 billion people live in Africa, speaking over 500 languages in the 54 countries. There are many anomalies, such as that the most successful country – Botswana – borders one of the worst failed states – Zimbabwe.
In his fascinating presentation, Dr. Salami focused on Nigeria, a powerhouse by any standards. He touched briefly on what he termed “lies by omission” by the media: leaving out facts that should be part of all responsible reporting, thus misleading the public who might otherwise have a much better-informed view of Africa. No one left without new insights into Africa, its economy and the startling investment opportunities in so many countries there.
Africa – it’s not what you thought.
Photo Kobi Fuks
- Written by Ministry of Economy
ISRAEL AND PANAMA COMPLETE NEGOTIATIONS ON FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
In 2016, Panama Will Join the List Of Countries with which Israel Enjoys Free Trade Agreements, Including the US, the EU, AFTA Countries, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay
JERUSALEM –November 26th, 2015 – Israel concluded negotiations with Panama on a free trade agreement: an Israeli delegation headed by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy which included seven representatives from relevant government ministries held the fourth round of talks in Panama City between November16th -19th, 2015 and succeeded in bridging the remaining gaps between the sides and completing the talks.
Panama enjoys free trade agreements with several countries, including the US, the EU, Canada, AFTA countries, Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. The free trade agreement with Panama will put Israel in a similar position regarding trade benefits.
The agreement, which will include a clause on the services sector, represents another springboard for Israeli companies in the service industry (a field comprising 30% of all Israeli exports). Israeli companies will now be able to participate in this sector in Panama -- with an emphasis on software, communications, information security, engineering and research and development – and thus enjoy the potential of this and related markets. Negotiations took place within the framework of the Israeli Ministry of Economy's policy of expanding exports from Israel to new markets and the policy established in May, 2013 of tightening relations with Latin American countries.
In this latest round of talks, several work groups convened to discuss the following subjects: access to markets, customs and rules of origin, services, investments, protection of vegetation and livestock, trade obstacles and institutional issues. The agreement includes total reduction of customs on all industrial products (some will be reduced gradually over several years), partial lifting of tariffs on agricultural products and benefits for the export of services in various fields. The agreement is expected to take effect at the end of 2016.
With talks successfully concluded, Panama will join the list of countries with which Israel has signed trade agreements: the EU – since 1975, US – 1985, AFTA (Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland) – 1992, Canada – 1997, Turkey – 1997, Mexico – 1999, MERCOSUR (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) – 2007, Colombia – (signed in 2013 but yet to be ratified by the Colombian government).
Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, said: "The Ministry of Economy continues to strengthen Israel's economic ties with countries around the world, with an emphasis on developing economies with high growth potential. This will strengthen Israel's foothold in Latin America, in line with our policy of expanding export channels for Israeli industry and various services sectors. The agreement will open new possibilities for Israeli industry while giving a competitive edge to Israeli manufacturers. Panama is a candidate to become member of the Pacific Alliance, a bloc of Latin American countries comprising Mexico, Colombia (both countries with which Israel has free trade agreements), Chile and Peru. The bloc includes some 200 million people and a combined GDP of more than $3 trillion; it covers 35% of the GDP of all Latin American countries and more than 50% of Latin American trade."
Mrs. Yifat Alon Perel, Director of Bilateral Trade and Economic Agreements at the Foreign Trade Administration and head of the Israeli negotiating team, said: "Free trade agreements constitute a significant infrastructural framework for Israeli exports. Today, some 65% of Israeli exports are directed to countries with which Israel has free trade agreements and this gives exporters customs benefits and a competitive edge, among other advantages. The Foreign Trade Administration continues to act for the benefit of exporters by ensuring their products remain competitive and by creating better access to new markets. This is done by striving to remove trade obstacles exporters may encounter when trying to enter new markets. As of today, Israeli industry enjoys a competitive advantage in Latin America in exports to the Mercosur bloc which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Israel is the only non-Latin American country with an active free trade agreement with this important bloc. In addition, Israel has an active trade agreement with Mexico and two years ago signed a free trade agreement with Colombia which is expected to take effect in the coming year. Our goal is to expand the benefits Israeli industry enjoys to additional countries. The agreement with Panama will be the fourth one Israel has signed in Latin America. Strengthening economic relations with Panama is doubly important, both in opening new markets for Israeli industry but also in strengthening Israel's position among Latin American countries.”
According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the economy of Panama is based mainly on a highly developed services sector, which represents more than three-quarters of the country's GDP, and includes management of the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Trade Zone, insurance, operation of the ports, shipping registration and tourism. The rate of economic growth in Panama reached 8.4% in 2013 and 6.2% in 2014, significantly higher than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean Islands (1.7% in 2014, according to World Bank data). Panama's growth is attributed among other things to the widening of the Panama Canal, begun in 2007 at a cost of $5.3 billion. Additional infrastructure development projects expected to take place may also draw Israeli companies with relevant experience.
The country's modest exports reach only $25 million, but may grow in light of the agreement and in light of Panama’s role as a bridge to other countries in the region.
Photos : Andrés Lacko
- Written by Ministry of Economy
“BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN EMERGING MARKETS”: THE FOREIGN TRADE ADMINISTRATION AT THE ISRAELI MINISTRY OF ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY HOLDS 2nd ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The second annual Foreign Trade Conference hosted by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry was held today in Tel Aviv, with the theme: "Business Opportunities in Emerging Markets.”
“Exports are the engine driving the economy,” said Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, who opened the event. “In addition to exports, we are focusing on emerging markets. The leading economies of Europe and the U.S. are still very significant, but there are also new awakening lions, such as Indonesia.”
Cohen also commented on the recent slowdown in export activities. “The reason for the slowdown in exports is, first and foremost, that there are not enough new exporters entering the market and we are trying to fix this in three ways: by expanding exports by 50% to $135 billion, by widening the variety of exports, and by helping Israeli companies penetrate new markets.”
“We are not only troubled by the growth rate in exports, but also by the fact that over the past decade, there has been a worrying concentration, both in target markets and in the number of exporters themselves,” Amit Lang, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, told conference participants during his opening remarks. “To counter this phenomenon, we are expanding our geographical presence in Asia -- so for example, we’ve increased the number of economic attaches there, which we’re doing in Latin America as well, and we want to increase our support for exports in these areas. In addition, we want to enlarge our funds for providing aid to exporters. Our 2016 budget for this is larger than our 2014/2015 budget.”
Alzbeta Klein, Global Co-Head, IFC Investment Fund of the World Bank Group, also participated in the conference, signing an agreement between the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank and the State of Israel: “I’m delighted to be here today to sign the agreement between Israel and the International Finance Corporation for a very exciting program called TechEmerge,” said Klein. “We are looking at companies from Israel and elsewhere to be able to bring their technology to where it is needed most – emerging markets where there is an opportunity, where there is a scale and where there is a chance to do something which hasn’t been done before.”
The keynote speaker at the conference was Abby Joseph Cohen, President of the Global Markets Institute and Senior Investment Strategist at Goldman Sachs. Joseph Cohen presented an overview of global economic trends and their influence on the economies of the U.S., Israel and the world in general.
Joseph Cohen praised Israel’s position regarding R&D funding: “Which countries are at the top in terms of spending on R&D as a percentage of GDP? Israel is number one. One of the things that is so clear is that in countries where there is an economic policy to grow by being well educated and have sophisticated technology, these countries are doing well in the global community. One other area in which Israel excels is the following: researchers. People in science and technology as a percentage of population - Israel is number one. There is an enormous investment not just in equipment, not just in so-called basic research, but also an investment in people.”
Economic attachés from the Foreign Trade Administration posted in markets such as China, India, Brazil and others also presented Israeli exporters and investors with opportunities to increase their activities and penetrate new markets. These economic emissaries, situated in key trade centers around the world, help exporters and Israeli business entities break into new markets and locate international investments. At the conference, the attachés met with businesspeople, entrepreneurs and exporters interested in penetrating foreign markets or identifying new avenues of export.
Other participants at the conference included Ms. Yuan Zhou, Senior Vice President of the Credit Management Corporation Creditease, China; Mr. Andile Khumalo, Chief Investment Officer at MSG Afrika Investment Holdings; Mr. Marcos Holanda, President of the Bank for the Development of Northeast Brazil and Tzahi Malah, CEO of Ashra, Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation Ltd., as well as other senior executives from leading companies.
Photo: Shmulik Solomon
- Written by Aeroflot
Aeroflot doubles Tel-Aviv-Moscow route to four daily flights: Will operate 37 flights a week from Russia to Israel
The company, now celebrating its fifth year in Israel, will operate 37 flights a week from Tel Aviv to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Rostov during the 2015-2016 winter season
Tel Aviv, 11.11.2015 - Aeroflot, Russia's national airline, represented in Israel by Open Sky, is increasing its activity in Israel to 37 flights a week. During the 2015-2016 winter season the company, marking its fifth year of successful presence in Israel, will be operating four daily flights on the Tel Aviv-Moscow route, flying Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A320/321/330 jets. Aeroflot will also be operating a daily flight to St. Petersburg and two weekly flights to Rostov.
The four daily flights that Aeroflot is offering between Tel-Aviv and Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow provide convenient service to 250 daily flights to 300 destinations in 60 countries around the world, with prices that bring better value than ever. Aeroflot operates one of the youngest fleets in the world: the average aircraft-age is just 4.2 years, and will grow younger as new jets are added. The company's Boeing 777-300, which will fly the Tel Aviv route twice a day, is among the most advanced, innovative aircraft in the world. The aircraft provides a lavish service experience, featuring a personal entertainment system and ample legroom in all classes.
Aeroflot's global reach brings Israeli passengers convenient connectivity with short transit times, especially in Moscow, en route to their final destination. According to the company's figures, many of the Aeroflot passengers from Israel continue onto other destinations in Russia, Europe, North America or the Far East. Aeroflot has achieved impressive growth figures on its Israel route, which are likely to grow even more as the frequency of service doubles: In 2014, Aeroflot flew 370,614 passengers between Russia and Israel, compared with 272,513 in 2013. The fact that Aeroflot is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance broadens the horizons it can offer even more, through its colleagues in the alliance, which serve 1,057 destinations in 179 countries worldwide.
From the end of October, when the Russian aviation authorities suspended the license of Russian airline Transaero, Aeroflot began flying the stranded Transaero passengers, a successful mission coordinated fully by Open Sky, Aeroflot's representative in Israel, working with the Israel Travel Agent Association and Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Aeroflot's cargo activity in Israel, which is exclusively represented by Open Sky Cargo, also grew by more than 20% in the last year, making it one of the five leading cargo transporters in Israel. The growth rate of Aeroflot's cargo division is among the fastest in the industry worldwide, and it offers rapid cargo shipment between Israel and the world through Aeroflot's comprehensive network of routes around the world.
Speaking at the reception for Aeroflot executives at Ben Gurion International Airport, Mr. Ephraim Fortis, Founder, President and CEO of Open Sky, commented: "Open Sky and Aeroflot are marking a double celebration in Israel: five years of successful operation for Aeroflot in Israel, and doubling the frequency of flights on the Moscow-Tel Aviv line. During its five years of operation in Israel, the airline's activity grew from five flights a week to five flights a day on routes between Russia and Israel. The seating capacity the company can offer on the line and high occupancy rates on flights already position Aeroflot as one of the biggest airlines operating at Ben-Gurion Airport. Four daily flights to Moscow give the Israeli passenger flexibility in timing departure and return, and enable convenient rests between connecting flights in both directions. The Boeing 777-300 airliners offer the Israeli passenger the perfect flight experience on our flights. For Aeroflot executives to come to Israel for this special ceremony demonstrates the airline's commitment to developing the route to Israel, which continues to grow and expand."
Aeroflot is Russia’s flagship carrier and one of the largest airline groups in Europe. In 2014, Aeroflot carried 23.6 million passengers (34.7 million passengers as Aeroflot Group including subsidiaries), a record for any Russian airline. A proud member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance, Aeroflot and its partners serve 1,057 destinations in 179 countries worldwide. Aeroflot operates one of the youngest fleets in the world, numbering 164 Airbus, Boeing and Sukhoi airliners. Aeroflot is among the global leaders in aviation safety. The company’s European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) Index, which is the main globally recognized safety parameter, is comparable to global peers. The first Russian carrier to enter the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) register, renewing its registration for the sixth time in 2015, Aeroflot has successfully passed the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and is fully ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 compliant. In 2015 Aeroflot was named by SKYTRAX as the Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the fourth time. Find more at www.aeroflot.com
Photos : Hen Galily