JERUSALEM, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Air India will launch its direct flight from New Delhi to Tel Aviv on Thursday with the grant from the Israeli Tourism Ministry, said the ministry on Wednesday.
The route opened following the marketing efforts of the tourism ministry that included a grant for marketing the new route, the opening of an Israel Government Tourist Office in India and dedicated campaigns that resulted in a steady increase in the numbers of tourists from India, according to the ministry.
Figures from the ministry showed that in 2018, the upward momentum in tourist traffic from India has increased, with a 33 percent increase in incoming tourism in Jan-Feb 2018 on the same period last year and 54 percent on the same period in 2016.
The new route will contribute to an increase in tourist traffic from India, which is enjoying significant upward momentum, said the Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. "The opening of the route is part of the marketing revolution that I am leading in the ministry, that has brought record numbers of incoming tourists to Israel."
Incoming tourism from India to Israel reached 58,000 in 2017, up 23.2 percent compared with 44,50 in 2016, figures from the ministry reported.
The inbound tourism survey made by the ministry also showed that the Indian tourist stays an average of 6.2 nights in Israel, spending on average 1,066 U.S. dollars.
According to a market survey that the ministry carried out, more than 350 million people, some of whom surf the internet, view Israel as the Start-Up Nation and a leading destination in culinary, wine and lifestyle tourism.
Having identified the significant potential in incoming tourism from India, the ministry increased its marketing budget in India and, four years ago, opened a tourist office in Mumbai to promote Israel as a tourism destination, said the ministry, which is working to bring 50,000 to 50,000 tourists from India within the next few years.
Outgoing tourism from India is the fastest-growing in the world, with significant tourism potential, said the ministry.
Today, India is the second largest source country in the Far East for incoming tourism after China, added the ministry.
Figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel showed, in the first two months of 2018, tourist entries to Israel reached 55,500, up 25 percent year on year. In 2017, the total number of tourists to Israel set a record high of 3.6 million.