Tourism Ministry investing in China as visitation reaches record high

'Ministry has identified the tourism potential in China, defining it as one of the leading destinations in its campaign for emerging markets.'

July 9, 2013 19:03
2 minute read.
Tao Dance Theater Company of China

Tao Dance Theater Company of China. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Noting China’s exponential tourism growth and interest in the Jewish state, the Israeli Embassy in Beijing has launched an Israel-themed “Road Show” to market the country, as well as ease visa restrictions for Chinese visitors.

Israel has become an increasingly attractive tourism destination for Chinese visitors, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

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Indeed, in 2012, more than 20,000 visitors from China came to the country, and there was a 27-percent rise in Chinese tourists in the first five months of this year.

“The Tourism Ministry has identified the tourism potential in China, defining it as one of the leading destinations in its campaign for emerging markets,” Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said Monday. “As a result, we will work to increase the number of incoming tourists from China to Israel over the next few years.”

In an effort to seize on this momentum, Landau said the Israeli Government Tourist Office in China has organizing a “Road Show” in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou for the cities’ leading travel agents which began Monday and will continue until Friday.

The Road Show consists of seminars marketing Israeli tourism activities, and a series of roundtable 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.

Additionally, to spur greater tourism from China, the ministry will offer visitors 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 bank guarantees for residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, where Israel has consular offices.

According to CBS, Israel has enjoyed record tourism growth this year.

A total of 1.7 million visitors arrived during the first two quarters, a 1% increase from the same period in 2012, an 8% increase from 2011, and a 6% increase from 2010. Of these visitors, 1.4 million were tourists, 1% less than 2012, 2% more than 2011 and 7% more than 2010.

“For the last few months, there has been an increase in incoming tourism in comparison to figures from last year,” said Landau. “The Tourism Ministry views tourism as an essential engine for economic growth that creates new jobs in the periphery.”

“We will continue our work in growing the number of visitors to Israel and realizing the tourism potential,” he added.

In April, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced his intention to make Israel one of the most visited countries in the world.

“Eight years ago Jerusalem had a little over 2 million tourists a year. I want to reach 10 million,” he said at a UJA Federation conference.

“When we analyze where we were eight years ago, we can see that we have huge potential to fulfill the vision of reaching the scale of tourists seen by other cities,” he continued. “New York has 50 million tourists, Paris has over 60 million, and Jerusalem had a little over 2 million – far from where we should be.”

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