THE OPEN SKIES AGREEMENT SPARKS INTEREST AT WORLD TRAVEL MARKET,
THE SECOND LARGEST TOURISM FAIR IN THE WORLD,
WHICH OPENED YESTERDAY IN LONDON.
A TEAM FROM THE TOURISM MINISTRY MET WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM AIRLINES
LOOKING TO EXPAND THEIR LOW COST FLIGHTS INTO ISRAEL
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "The Tourism Ministry is very active in promoting the Open Skies agreement which is expected to reduce the cost of flights into Israel and increase incoming tourism. We are committed to reducing vacation costs for Israeli and foreign tourists and within this framework we are working to encourage the operation of low-cost airlines from Europe into Israel" The Minister told exhibitors at the Israel booth: "We must work hard to market Israel as an attractive tourism destination from Europe and beyond".
The four dayWorld Travel Market (WTM), the second largest tourism fair in the world, opened yesterday in London (10.11.13), with about 5,000 exhibitors from 184 countries and is expected to attract over 50,000 people.
During his visit to WTM, Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau met with the General Secretary of the World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) Dr. Taleb D. Rifai and with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Mr. Alexander Radkov. The Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Amir Halevi met with representatives of Ryanair to discuss their request to lower the landing fees in order to open up new low-cost routes into Israel.
Halevi also met with Hugh Aitken, the UK Commercial Manager of low-cost airline easyJet, to discuss increasing their flights into Israel from additional destinations in Europe. Halevi congratulated Aitken for being among the first in the low-cost sector to realize the significant potential of operating cheaper flights into Israel and added that the ministry will continue to work to strengthen this cooperation. The ministry estimates that, thanks to the recent implementation of the Open Skies agreement, the number of new destinations for low-cost flights will gradually increase, leading to a breakthrough in increased tourist traffic to the benefit of the economy.
The Israeli booth - which is smaller this year due to increased efficiency, spreads over 420 square meters and hosts activities related to the Open Skies agreement, including highlighting the openings of new hotels belonging to international hotel chains such as the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem and locating new tourism wholesalers interested in marketing Israel as a tourism product.
In addition to Tourism Ministry representatives, about 40 commercial tourism enterprises are taking part in the fair, including hotel chains, airline companies, incoming tour operators, commercial entrepreneurs, local authority representatives etc
More than 130,000 tourists have visited Israel from England since the beginning of the year through September, an increase of 3% over the same period last year.