Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 03 February 2018| 16 Jumadul Ula 1439

Record numbers of Indian tourists visited Israel in 2017 according to statistics released by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism (IMOT). For two consecutive years the number of tourists from India had increased, reaching an all-time high last year, which saw a growth of 31 per cent.

Some 60,000 Indian tourists are said to have visited Israel in 2017. The increase is even higher over a two year period where the growth is said to be a whopping 48 per cent.

Speaking to the Indian media, the Director of Israel Ministry of Tourism India & Philippines said: “2017 has been outstanding and by far the best year for Israel tourism in India and worldwide. By October 2017 we already saw 49,000 Indians arrive in Israel, breaking previous records, and we were positive to close the year with 60,000 travellers to Israel from India. With over 20 million outbound tourists a year, India has been an important market for us and I am pleased to say that we have witnessed constant growth in the arrivals from the Indian market over the last four years.”

He also added, “Introducing initiatives, including easing of the visa process, and with airlines in India and Israel expressing interest to increase connectivity between the countries, I am confident that this growth will help us achieve 1 lakh Indian arrivals in 2018.”

Both countries are looking to further ease visa requirements to continue the rapid growth of tourism from India.
It’s not clear from the report if there has been a similar level of growth of tourism from Israel to India. But it’s widely believed that Israel sees India under a right-wing prime minster as an ideal opportunity to strengthen, political, economic and cultural ties between Tel Aviv and New Delhi.

Earlier in the month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid an historic visit to India. In addition to cementing arms deals, Netanyahu reached out to Bollywood. A gala dinner in his honour was organised which was attended by some of the most famous actors, directors and producers in the movie industry.

The demand has prompted Israel’s national airline El Al to recently increase its direct flight frequency between India and Israel. Air India and Arkia are also reported to have expressed interest to begin operations soon and introduce direct flights between Israel and India.

Source – MEMO


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