The Tourism Ministry wished tourists from China visiting Israel a pleasant new year, in honor of the Year of the Rat. Director-general of the ministry, Amir Halevy, added that there has been a notable increase in Chinese tourists visiting Israel, noting that "in the past year, there has been tens of percent growth in tourism coming from China to Israel. The impressive increase is the result of increased marketing efforts by the Ministry of Tourism in China. "In view of the potential of tourism from China, in recent years we have expanded the number of flights from other destinations in China," he said. "We have launched a huge campaigns on Chinese social networks, hosted opinion leaders and bloggers, [and] opened another bureau in Shanghai to leverage the Ministry of Tourism's efforts in more cities in China. In addition, we hired a new marketing company and started working in five more cities. We wish our Chinese friends a [pleasant] Year of the Rat and look forward to further increasing tourist numbers from China," Halevy added. In honor of the new year, which begins on 25 January, the ministry set of photograph stands and greetings at different tourist sites around the country. In Tel Aviv, two photo frames were placed, including one at the popular tourist spot of Jaffa, and another along the beach promenade near Frischman Beach. Another stand was set up in Jerusalem, near Jaffa Gate, a central entrance to the Old City, as well as at the Dead Sea and Ben-Gurion Airport. China represents the world's largest outbound tourism markets. More than 180 million Chinese tourists traveled in 2018, and Chinese tourists have been known to spend the largest amount among tourists visiting Israel, at an average of $230 per day. Given the size of the Chinese population and its rapid development and industrialization, the Tourism Ministry sees great potential in bringing more tourists from China to Israel. Around 442,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel last year, a 49% increase over the previous year.