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 Recovery in incoming tourism from Russia

Against the backdrop of a 35% increase in incoming tourism from Russia in the first quarter 2017, Russian airline Ural Airlines inaugurates a new route today from Moscow to Tel Aviv

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin: “Russia is one of the most important markets in which we are working to market Israel as an attractive tourism destination. I welcome the decision of Ural Airlines to operate a direct flight here, a decision that was made with the cooperation and encouragement of the Tourism Ministry. This is another important step in our efforts to encourage tourism from Russia and I am convinced that the opening of this route will lead to an additional increase in the number of tourists visiting Israel.

Ural is another airline that joins the ranks of new airlines operating in Israel thanks to the encouragement of the Tourism Ministry. We set ourselves the goal of bringing new direct routes to Israel and we are indeed witnessing an exceptional momentum of airlines flying into Israel and bringing with them record numbers of tourists.”

Jerusalem, April 26, 2017- The Tourism Ministry is working with airlines in Russia to incentivize them to open new routes into Israel, using grants and marketing assistance, while at the same time working with tour operators and wholesalers. Most of the large and medium-size tour operators in Russia are already offering vacation packages to Israel.

The Tourism Ministry in Russia recently launched the Two Cities One Break campaign, designed to encourage incoming tourism to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in particular. Half of the campaign’s 3 million euro budget has been allocated to advertising on TV, radio, billboards and print media, with the other half to online marketing. The marketing program is concentrated on Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Samara. The Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi held a series of meetings about a month ago at the MITT tourism trade fair in Moscow with airline companies and tour operators, presenting the ministry incentive programs alongside the business potential of Israeli tourism.

In addition to today’s inaugural flight, Ural Airlines, Russia’s second largest airline, recently began operating a twice-weekly route between Sochi and Tel Aviv and this summer will also operate flights to Tel Aviv from Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

In the last two years, in the shadow of the economic crisis in Russia and the geo-political crises in the Middle East, the Tourism Ministry in Russia and the CIS has successfully marketed Israel with campaigns costing millions of shekels. The office was recently awarded a prize for being the “most active tourism office in Russia” by the Russian Tour Operators Association and the head of the ministry’s office in Moscow, Ksenia Kobyakov, was invited to give a presentation to government leaders in Moscow and the surrounding region about the success of positioning Eilat as a winter tourism destination for Russian visitors.

Despite these crises, the numbers of incoming tourists from Russia has actually increased by 35% in the first quarter of 2017 on the same period in 2016. The hotels in Tel Aviv are also reporting tens of percent increase in overnight stays by Russian tourists compared to the same period last year.

Thanks to the incentive of 45 euro per passenger flying into Eilat given to Ural Airlines by the Tourism Ministry, the company is operating three weekly flights into the resort this winter season through to May 28: two from Moscow and one from St. Petersburg. In the first quarter 2017, there was an increase of 130% in the number of Russian tourists staying in Eilat.

Link to the general campaign in Russia:


Link to the Eilat campaign: