Visas block Russian tourist influx

Tourism Ministry: Israel would attract a greater proportion of 4 million tourists from the former Soviet Union who visit the ME is visas were not necessary.

By NATHAN BURSTEIN
July 22, 2007 21:24
1 minute read.
tourism israel 88 298

tourism israel 88 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Rebuffed last month in efforts to cancel the visa requirement for Russian tourists, Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Israel Beiteinu) revived the issue Sunday with the creation of a cabinet-level committee. Aharonovich will oversee the committee and presents its recommendations to the cabinet in the coming weeks. He will work with four other ministers on the committee, including Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue for the economy is at stake, according to the Tourism Ministry. Israel would attract a greater proportion of the four million tourists from the former Soviet Union who visit the Middle East each year if the visa requirement were canceled, the ministry said. Some 100,000 citizens from the former Soviet Union visit Israel annually, significantly fewer than the two million who travel to Turkey and the one million who visit Egypt. Cyprus, smaller in both size and population than Israel, attracts 800,000 FSU tourists each year. "The need to receive a visa prevents the majority [of potential Russian visitors] from arriving in Israel," Aharonovich said. "Tourists from Russia are choosing instead to visit other countries in the region… and are going back to our neighbors for return visits." Each 100,000 visits to Israel, the Tourism Ministry says, adds 4,000 jobs and $100 million to the national economy. While acknowledging the potential economic benefits of canceling the Russian visa requirement, the Public Security and Foreign ministries are expected to oppose the plan. They argued in June that its activation would exacerbate crime and social problems, and could even raise the threat of terrorism. Visits by Russian tourists are up 54 percent this year, boosted in part by Tourism Ministry efforts to ease passage into the country for one-day visits from Egypt and Jordan. More than 24,000 Russian tourists have visited Israel through the new program, which was organized with the help of the Interior Ministry.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

El Al
August 16, 2014
The Travel Adviser: For El Al, mission accomplished

By MARK FELDMAN