Israel Targets Asian and Korean Tourists for Tourism Expansion, Says Deputy Minister
Seoul, June 7, 2023 – Israel’s Ministry of Tourism is set to unveil its plans to tap into the Asian and Korean markets, considering them crucial sectors for growth. Ilan Marciano, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, announced during a press conference today that the ministry is keen on attracting Asian and Korean tourists, emphasizing Israel’s tourism infrastructure, marketing strategies, and wide array of captivating attractions.
With a significant annual budget of 118.9 billion KRW dedicated to innovative and sustainable tourism infrastructure improvements, Israel aims to provide tourists with exceptional experiences. Approved projects include the development of free-entry tourist attractions, the preservation and enhancement of archaeological and historical sites, and the establishment of regional tourism clusters.
Additionally, the country is actively working on improving accessibility for people with disabilities, introducing nighttime tourism offerings, and upgrading various facilities such as walking paths, parking lots, bridges, markets, parks, and viewpoints, all aimed at ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience.
Israel is also focusing on augmenting its hotel capacity as part of its expansion plans. New hotels have emerged in recent years, while existing ones have undergone renovations and expansions. With approximately 60,000 rooms currently available, the nation aims to add a further 7,500 rooms by 2026 to accommodate the growing number of visitors.
Deputy Minister Marciano highlighted the significance of the Asian market, particularly Korea, in Israel’s tourism landscape. He emphasized the increasing number of Korean tourists visiting Israel, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 60,000 Koreans exploring the country in 2019. Marciano further underscored the exceptional performance of Korean travelers, who topped the list of Asian visitors to Israel in January and February this year, showcasing their enduring enthusiasm for the destination.
Improving accessibility between Korea and Israel has been a key focus. Currently, Korean Air operates three direct flights per week on the Incheon-Tel Aviv route, and several other airlines provide convenient connecting flights through layovers. These options offer Korean travelers flexibility when planning their trips to Israel.
While acknowledging the strong interest of Korean tourists in religious pilgrimages, Deputy Minister Marciano also encouraged them to explore the diverse attractions Israel has to offer as a holiday destination. The ministry plans to launch aggressive online marketing campaigns, incorporating elements of K-culture to boost Israel’s image and brand awareness. The goal is to not only attract pilgrims but also cater to a wider range of tourists, promoting Israel as an all-encompassing travel experience.
To further support the travel industry, the ministry aims to introduce a group tourist incentive support system. This initiative will provide marketing activity support funds for the development of new travel products, in addition to financial support for advertising and marketing costs. Education programs and study tours for travel agencies will also be organized to provide industry professionals with updated insights and practical knowledge, further expanding opportunities in the travel sector.
Deputy Minister Marciano expressed his gratitude for the continuous support of the Korean travel industry and tourists, acknowledging their significant contribution to Israel’s tourism sector. His visit to Korea signifies the ministry’s commitment to fostering the development of new Israeli travel products and providing active support for industry promotion and marketing.
Israel has garnered international attention for its swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to an endemic state. Since March 1, 2022, the country has opened its doors to foreign nationals without any restrictions. The visa waiver agreement between Korea and Israel enables Korean travelers to explore Israel without the need for a separate tourist visa. Furthermore, as of May 15, 2023, the requirement for a COVID-19 traveler’s insurance certificate upon entry to Israel has been lifted, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the diverse attractions Israel has to offer.
With Israel’s concerted efforts to attract Asian and Korean tourists, coupled with its diverse range of experiences and improved accessibility, the country is poised to become an even more sought-after destination for global travelers seeking unique and enriching experiences.
By Jungchan Lee/Korea Travel News