By Roy Mabasa
Israel’s Ministry of Tourism has stepped up its campaign to lure more Filipino travelers to visit the Holy Land following a very encouraging 61-percent increase in last year’s number of tourists coming from the Philippines.
Last week, Israel’s tourism agency launched a two-city roadshow in Manila and Cebu in an attempt to “tap new markets” in a networking format involving over 100 travel agents.
“Israel is an emerging destination for the Filipino traveler and tourist arrivals have been growing from the Philippines to Israel over the last two years. We wanted to tap new markets, so we decided to conduct roadshows in Manila and Cebu,” said Hassan Madah, director of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in India and the Philippines.
The Israeli tourism executive disclosed that they are also working on the connectivity between the two countries by discussing with a local airline company in the Philippines the possibility of having a direct flight, “hopefully by the end of the year.”
Quoting statistics from the Philippines’s Department of Tourism, it showed that Israel achieved a 61-percent growth in 2017 over the previous year, creating a new record with 23,500 Filipinos visiting the destination.
On the other hand, it also showed that a total of 17,446 Israelis traveled to the Philippines in 2017
The Israeli tourism office said it is expecting that Filipino tourist arrivals to Israel will reach about 30,000 by the end of 2018.
Unknown to many, Philippine passport holders can enjoy visa-free access to Israel up to 90 days.
Those present in Manila roadshow were Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines Effie Ben Matityau and celebrity speaker Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan who recently joined the Jerusalem Marathon.