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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Israel: The Chinese Invasion Has Begun (Tourism)

(Image: Chinese tourists preparing to visit Israel. Credit: Alsion Klayman of JTA)

It looks like the kosher state in the middle east will now be entertaining guests from the far east as Israel is preparing for the first wave of travelers from China, many who have a fascination about Israelis (and their way of life).
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency) At a pre-departure session for China's first tour group to Israel, manager Wu Jianguo from China Travel Service answered many questions from his pioneering clients: Will all the shops be closed on the day of rest? Are there Chinese restaurants in Israel? Where can we buy a menorah? Should we not bring any snacks with pork? [...]

The trips are the first fruits of an agreement signed last October by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and then-Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi that landed Israel on the list of more than 100 countries to have China's "Approved Destination Status."

This designation makes it easier for Chinese tourists to travel to Israel, and Israel is hoping this will ultimately lead to a tourism boom. Now the Chinese domestic market for Israel travel is mostly businesspeople, about half of whom make up government delegations, according to El Al's sales manager for China, Helen Huang.
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), China is already a hot spot for many Israeli travelers, as its one of the few nations that has a long history with the Jewish people, most of it positive (if not all).

Israel and China are already exploring ways to increase trade between their respective countries, which will hopefully blossom into a deeper relationship in the future (note: especially since China is now a space power).

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