Israel a favorite among Chinese tourists

Israel works to encourage tourism from China by expanding bilateral cooperation, reforming visa process for Chinese visitors, and recruiting more Chinese tour guides.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel rose by 30 percent in 2013, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported, quoting Israel's Tourism Ministry.

Chinese tourists spent an average of $286 a day in Israel (not including souvenirs), more than tourists from other countries.

Quoting the Tourism Ministry's director-general Amir Halevy, Xinhua reported 30,000 people arrived in Israel last year thanks to "the rapid development of bilateral commercial, technological, agricultural exchanges."

"Considering over 100 million overseas journeys are made by Chinese people every year, we see more potential in bilateral tourism exchanges," Halevy said.

He noted Israel was working on recruiting more Chinese tour guides, as well as providing special tour services, to accommodate more Chinese visitors.

Halevy said Israel's goal was to attract 40,000 Chinese tourists in 2017, and 100,000 in 2020.

To that end, Israel was working with Chinese airlines to launch direct flights to Ben Gurion Airport, and a reform in entry visas for Chinese visitors to Israel was introduced.

"China is a leading destination in the campaign of the Israeli Tourism Ministry for emerging markets," Tourism Ministry Uzi Landau told Xinhua last year.
 
"We will work to increase the number of tourists from China to Israel over the next few years," Landau added.
 
The Tourism Ministry also led seminars in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou last year, introducing hundreds of Chinese travel agents to Israeli tourism.

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