40k Indians visited Israel from Jan-June

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian PM Narendra ModiMUMBAI: After an all-time high of 60,000 Indian tourists travelling to Israel in 2017, the country has seen a 25.78 per cent growth in the first six months of this year with more than 40,000 Indian tourists. From January-June 2017, 31,800 Indian travelers visited Israel, according to data by Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT). In May alone Israel also witnessed 34.84 per cent growth with 17,800 Indian arrivals compared to 13,200 visitors in May, 2017. Further, the country expects to close the year with over lakh tourist arrivals from India.

“We have been witnessing a steady year-on-year growth in tourist arrivals to Israel from India and are extremely pleased with the consistent figures. India has been an important market for us and I am delighted to say that it has been one of the best performing markets in Asia, especially until June this year,” IMOT director, India and Philippines, Hassan Madah said. “A lot of initiatives have contributed to this rise, and with the recent reduction in visa fee for Indian travelers, Israel is positive to close this year on one lakh arrivals from India,” he added.
Several measures, including Air India launching its fastest non-stop direct flight between New Delhi and Tel Aviv in March this year with a one-way duration of 7 hours and 10 minutes, he said. Following an “overwhelming” response, the national carrier announced an increase in frequency on this sector, adding a fourth flight a week starting from July 14, he added. In December last year, it relaxed visa documentation for applicants who have availed visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada, Australia or Israel and have completed their travel to these countries.

In September 2017, the IMOT introduced one-year multiple entry visas for business travelers to Israel. It also recently announced a reduction in visa fee to Rs 1,100 from its previous Rs 1,700 for Indian citizens. “A majority of the arrival numbers include MICE, corporate and leisure seeking travelers owing to the beautiful landscapes, historic attractions and availability of vegetarian food. We have also observed a trend of increase in women groups exploring the country,” Madah added. PTI

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