Israel has recorded a 21 per cent growth in Indian tourist arrivals with around 70,800 travellers visiting the country from January to December 2018, making it the 12th source market for Israel. Around 58,700 tourists from India visited Israel in 2017, Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) said in a release.
"Last year has been outstanding for Israel Tourism in India and worldwide as we welcomed 4.12 million tourists into the country. With a rapid increase in leisure outbound trips, India is an important market for us possessing tremendous potential to become one of the key source markets for Israel in the coming years," Israel IMOT director, India and Philippines, Hassan Madah said.
Israel has emerged as a preferred tourist destination for Indians owing to its dynamic offerings, opening of more direct air routes and relaxation of visa procedures, he added. He said, "our marketing efforts, collaborations with travel agents, the introduction of Air India's direct flight operations from New Delhi and a further increase of frequency on that route along with an increase in seat capacity have contributed appreciably to the growth numbers." IMOT's initiatives to reduce the visa fee for Indians coupled with the opening of a visa application centre in Kolkata have resulted in increasing interest among Indian travellers, he said.
In March 2018, Air India introduced direct flights from New Delhi to Tel Aviv to become the fastest non-stop flight between India and Israel. In addition, Israeli carrier El Al introduced a new Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in November last year with increased seat capacity on its Mumbai-Tel Aviv route, he said. On the visa front, the country reduced its visa fee to Rs 1,100 from its previous Rs 1,700 for Indian citizens along with the initiation of Fast Track visa processing, Madah added.
(With inputs from agencies.)