Looking at the steady increase in tourists arrivals from India, Israel is eyeing one lakh, Indian travellers, to visit the country by the next year. “We have been very focused in tourism promotions in India and easing the visa process. This year in the first seven months till July we have already hosted 34,000 Indian tourists. This is expected to go up to 55,000 by the end of this year,” Israel Ministry of Tourism India Director Hassan Madah told PTI here. He said, currently there are 3-4 direct flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv and numerous connecting flights from the Middle East. There are talks of introducing direct Air India flights connecting New Delhi with Israel in a few months, he said adding if it commences then the tourist traffic is likely to surge from India and the the number this year may reach nearly 90,000.
There are few global airlines, who are waiting for the Air India flights to be launched, and then introduce their fleets in this direct route.
“When this happens, we will see a surge in tourists arrivals from India. We have also been engaging with the tourism industry in India since last few years and are focused in many promotional activities. Due to this we have set a target of reaching one lakh tourists from India by the end of 2018,” he said. For tourism promotions in India, Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) is spending USD 5-6 million in India this year, he said adding going forward as the tourist traffic grows the Budget is likely to grow. Israel, which has positioned its self as an affordable premium destination, is targeting travellers mainly for pilgrimage, leisure and meetings, incentives, conferences, events (MICE), including weddings, segments.
“We are mainly focusing on pilgrimage, leisure and MICE as they are huge segments in India. However, we also have scope for the young adventurer at heart, honeymoon and for medical purposes,” he said. In India, IMOT is targeting people from the metro cities mostly from over 25 years who are well travelled. “Initially, we want to focus in the big and metro cities. Gradually, we will expand our promotions to tier II and III cities,” he added. Madah said initially in Asia, India was the number one source market for Israel, however, China has now taken over the position. “We believe that after the connectivity improves, India will again become number one source market for us among the Asian countries,” he said. Globally, the US and Europe, including Russia are the top source markets of Israel.