Amir Halevi, director general of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, said the country had seen almost 80% growth year-on-year in arrivals from China, with direct Hainan Airlines flights from Shanghai and Beijing a key driver.
He said the ministry would invest further in the Chinese market saying: “If we smell the potential for tourism growth, we will run after that immediately.”
Tourism to the country has been growing steadily in recent years with last year seeing a 20% overall increase compared with 2015. Halevi told TTG@WTM that Israel was now on course to welcome 3.5 million international tourists by the end of this year.
On the subject of airlift, Halevi confirmed that the opening of the much-anticipated Ramon airport, due to serve Red Sea resort Eilat, would be delayed until next October.
The airport was due to be served from the UK by Monarch Airlines but following the carrier’s collapse the Israel Government Tourist Office is looking for new airlines to service the route.