Guangzhou and Israel strengthen ties, open direct flights
A direct flight from Guangzhou to Israel is set to open in early 2018, according to Bora Shnitman, chief representative of the Israel Government Tourist Office in China.
Shnitman made the announcement at an Israeli tourism promotion event in Guangzhou on Nov 13, supported by more than 30 Israel-based travel agencies, hotels and airlines.
According to Shnitman, the direct flights, which will operate from Guangzhou and Chengdu, will help to enhance bilateral cooperation between China and Israel. The routes will bring about much greater convenience for tourists wanting to travel from the two Chinese cities to Israel.
Bora Shnitman, chief representative of Israeli Government Tourist Office in China, delivers a speech at a tourism promotion event held in Guangzhou on Nov 13. [Photo/ycwb.com]
In early March 2016, China's Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an agreement to issue 10-year multiple-entry visas for applicants from the two countries. The agreement has greatly incentivized more Chinese tourists to travel to Israel and contribute to the country's tourism industry, which has become a new engine for its overall economy.
As of October 2017, the total number of inbound visitors to Israel from China has reached 3 million and is expected to hit 3.5 million by the end of this year. More than 93,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel from January to October this year, up 54 percent year-on-year and 142 percent compared with the same period in 2015.
To provide Chinese tourists with a better tourism experience, Israel has launched a wide range of measures at its tourism spots, hotels and shops.
Over 30 travel agencies, hotels and airlines from Israel promote tourism in Guangzhou on Nov 13. [Photo/ycwb.com]
According to Shnitman, many scenic spots in Israel have set up Chinese-language guideboards, street nameplates and employed guides who are able to speak Chinese and introduce the scenic spots in Chinese.
He also mentioned that from December this year, Alipay, China's leading mobile payment platform will also be available in shops and hotels in Israel, which means Chinese tourists can travel Israel without having to exchange currencies in advance.
At the end of this year, Israel will also launch a series of promotion shows on Chinese social media such as WeChat and Weibo. The budget for tourism promotion in China has increased eight times compared with previous years, according to Shnitman.
Israel is also working hard to promote the construction of new hotels creating much competition in its tourism industry to deliver better tourism products for inbound visitors. More cultural festivals and sports events will also be hosted to lure visitors.