By Roy C. Mabasa
Israel is fast becoming an important source of tourists for the Philippines with double-digit growth registered in the last three years.
As of September, 2016, a total of 11,800 Israelis have visited the Philippines, a 34 percent increase from last year.
To further boost this figure, representatives of six major travel agencies from Israel visited popular tourism destinations in the Philippines through the Familiarization Tour organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv.
The group was composed of CEOs and managers of Ophir Tours, Mona Tours Ltd., Ayala Travel and Tours Ltd., Galaxy Tours, Ypaymore Ltd. and Alpha Club-Ganim Tours visited Cebu, Bohol, and Metro Manila.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the tour group held business-to-business meetings with Philippine tour companies, conducted ocular visits to major hotels and experienced activities such as snorkeling, watching dolphins in Bohol, a historical tour in Cebu, and shopping in Manila.
The DFA said the Familiarization Tour is an initiative to establish a long-term relationship with Israeli travel agencies in working together towards the promotion of Philippine tourism.