By Roy Mabasa
Data from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism showed that during the first half of the year, around 9,000 Filipinos travelled to Israel, up by 62 percent from 5,600 during the same period in 2016.
Last June, the number of Filipinos who travelled to Israel doubled to 1,200 from only 600 in June 2016. And during the first semester of 2017, the biggest monthly record of Filipino travelers was recorded in April with 2,100.
According to Israel’s Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau, this positive development comes on the backdrop of the growing interest among Filipinos who are looking for a meaningful spiritual trip combined with growing interest in modern Israel as the land of creation and creativity, the promised land and the land of many promises in so many ways.
Data from the Philippines’ Department of Tourism showed that a total of 16,725 Israelis traveled to the Philippines last year, 42 percent higher from 2015 record of 11,756.
Ambassador Matityau said this year, this number is expected to grow at least at the same rate with Israel as the number one country in terms of growth rate for incoming tourists in the Philippines.
“We see growing opportunities in tourism. Israel is the promised land and the land of many promises which create the foundation for a very solid and steady growth in tourism between our two countries,” the Ambassador said.
Hassan Madah, tourism director for India and Philippines, expressed hope that a record number of 17,000 Filipino tourists will travel to Israel this year.
“The Israel Ministry of Tourism sees a huge potential in the Philippines market as we continue to make progress on the issues of awareness and connectivity. Filipinos can enjoy visa-free travel to Israel for up to 90 days while Israelis can enjoy visa-free travel to the Philippines for up to 59 days. On the connectivity side, Cathay Pacific and Turkish Airlines offer good connections to Tel Aviv,” Madah said.