By Philippine News Agency
Israeli arrivals to the Philippines posted the highest growth rate among source markets at 42.27 percent to 16, 725, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Friday.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said this was a week after the DOT revealed its industry performance report, which showed that the Philippines acquired a total of 5.9 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2016, slightly short of its 6 million target.
Bengzon, however, expressed hope Israeli arrivals to the Philippines would reach between 20,000 and 22,000 arrivals for 2017.
He said that among Israeli travelers, the Philippines was gaining preference as an emerging tourism destination.
The DOT recently joined the 23rd International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) held last February 7–9 at the TLV Convention Center in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel.
The IMTM is the largest annual professional tourism fair of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean, attended by around 25,000 tourism and travel executives.
Bengzon, head of the Philippine Tourism delegation, also took part in bilateral meeting with Israel Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, where they discussed the possibility of hiring Filipinos in luxury hotels in Israel and the providing on-the-job training for Filipino students in this Middle East country.
Levin said that Israel was open to hiring Filipinos to work in the hotel industry, especially the high-end hotels in Israel and would target an initial 500-700 Filipinos.
The Israel Tourism Minister also recently met with officers of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to address the issue of direct flights to Manila from his country.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, for her part, welcomed the recent development, saying that the bilateral agreement was based on mutual interests among travelers of both the Philippines and Israel.
“Many Filipinos are pilgrims to the Holy Land and then visit Israel’s museums, historical landmarks and ecotourism sites. On the other hand, Israelis are drawn to our country mainly for vacation and leisure,” Teo said.
Teo also revealed that at an average of 20 nights per trip, Israelis’ favorite places in the Philippines include Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Palawan, Banaue and Puerto Galera. Meanwhile, diving, shopping, interesting culture and the warmth of our people are what Israelis like most, she added.
Tags: 23rd International Mediterranean Tourism Market, Benito Bengzon Jr., Department of Tourism, DOT, DOT: Israel has highest growth rate among PH markets, highest growth rate, Israel, Manila Bulletin, tourist arrivals