Israel Tourism will try to forge partnerships with Indian travel trade to promote inbound from India to Israel. As a first step, Israel Tourism had organised road shows in three important cities – Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad – to introduce the destination and the tourism offerings to the travel trade in these cities. The Tourism Board has plans to organise road shows in cities like Pune, Chennai, Goa, Ahmedabad and Kochi in the coming months.
As per the latest inbound figures, about 40,000 Indians visited Israel in 2010, registering a growth of 36 per cent compared to the previous year. According to Naama Oryan-Kaplan, Marketing Adminisstration, Ministry of Tourism, Israel, there has been a 12 per cent growth in Indian inbound to Israel in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. This increasing visitations from India has made Israel Tourism to look towards India as a new source market for travel and tourism, she added.
“India came to us as a market very suddenly and quickly. These road shows are one of the first major initiatives we are taking here. We are in touch with a number of Indian tour operators and we are open for partnerships. We are also in the process of starting an online B2B portal for the Indian travel trade so that we can stay connected with them,” she said. In order to enhance awareness about Israel and their tourism offerings, the official said that they have plans to organise familiarisation tours for Indian media in the near future. “Our aim is to inform the Indian travellers that we have much more to offer than just religious tourism. We have the best indoor and outdoor facilities for MICE, as well as beaches, deserts and so much more for FITs, groups and even honeymooners,” she stated. Israel Tourism plans to highlight a variety of products including adventure tourism, honeymoon, cuisine, MICE, religious tourism, culture and heritage, art and music, shopping, and night life in the India market.
Along with promotions, Israel also realises the importance of air connectivity between India and Israel to facilitate travel between the two countries. Judah Samuel, General Manager India, El Al Israel Airlines said that negotiations are on with Indian carriers for some kind of code-sharing arrangements with them. “The increase in tourist numbers has prompted us to hold discussions with select Indian carriers for code-sharing operations. We can't reveal the names of the carriers yet, but we understand that this is vital to enhance Indian footfall to Israel,” Samuel added.