As covered previously by Shalom Adventure, Israel’s tourism numbers crossing the 4 million threshold last year are breathtaking and historical for such a small country. This awesome trend is expected to continue in 2019.
In addition to all the western tourists however, and vacationers from America and Europe, it is also noteworthy that many tourists are originating from the Far East and China. Increased tourism from the Far East could make Israel’s already phenomenal tourism numbers even more historical than they already are.
“Israel is very attractive to people because of the history and the culture you can find here,” Mei Xiangrong, founder of Yingke Travel, a Beijing-based travel agency, told Tower Magazine.
Though China is an atheist country officially with influences of various eastern religions, Chinese tourists are interested in learning about the history of Christianity and Judaism that originated in Israel, and how these faiths influence western civilization. Many Chinese are also interested given the historical connections the Chinese may have had with Jewish people along the Silk Road under the Han Dynasty. Some have expressed sentiments that even more Chinese people would be open to visiting Israel if it was not for a language barrier and deficiency of Mandarin speaking taxi drivers, hotel employees, and other service personnel in Israel.
Direct flights into Israel facilitate tourism to Israel from China, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported, making it more lucrative than zigzagging all over the map to a foreign land, especially since Israel is viewed as “western” in this part of the world. Hainan Airlines just started offering flights directly from Shenzhen, China to Tel Aviv, in addition to increasing routes originating from Shanghai and Beijing. China Eastern Airlines is also expected to add routes directly to Tel Aviv.
“To the Chinese, Israel is still a very mysterious country, a place they can see something they have never seen before,” Ge Guodong, author of a Mandarin tour guide to Israel, told Tower Magazine.
Written by Erin Parfet