- Posted by Christopher Ledsham
- On 30th March 2017
Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has announced a 68.6% year-on-year rise in Chinese arrivals last year, underlying the role played by tourism in the comprehensive bilateral ties Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during his recent high-profile visit to China.
Following the investment of close to ISL 10 million (ca. USD 2.8 million) per annum and the launch of a direct Hainan Airlines flight route between Tel Aviv and Beijing, 2016 saw 79,268 Chinese visitors to Israel in 2016, with the Ministry of Tourism stating its next goal is to reach an annual total of 100,000 arrivals. The prospect of this target being reached in the near future was boosted by the introduction of 10-year multiple entry tourist visas to Israel for Chinese nationals in December 2016, which could encourage Chinese visitors to spend time in the country en route to more distant long haul destinations in the future.
As is the case in numerous destinations worldwide, Chinese tourists are proving to be lucrative to the Israeli economy, spending an average of USD 267 per day, comfortably surpassing the USD 158 spent in the country per day by European visitors.
Speaking amidst the discussion of closer two-way economic cooperation and hopes to complete a bilateral Free Trade Agreement this year, Netanyahu underlined the key role he regards tourism as playing in closer political ties with China by encouraging greater numbers of Chinese visitors to travel to Israel. "You are all invited,” he emphasised, “Israel is a beautiful country."
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