Israel eyed as new tourist market

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing the Israeli population as part of its strategy to reach non-traditional markets and boost international arrivals in the country.

“Israel is one of the new markets that DOT has been targeting. We are certain that Israel will be a major source market for the country in the near future,” DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said.

This move is still part of the current thrust of the agency to go beyond the usual marketing strategies, offer new tourism products and look into new markets.

The Philippine tourism delegation recently participated in the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) 2016, a tourism exhibition in Israel which gives tourism professionals globally the opportunity to meet with colleagues, buyers and suppliers.

Bengzon noted that tourist arrivals from the Holy Land have tripled in the last six years highlighted by a robust 34 percent increase in 2015.

In 2015, the Philippines and Israel developed a bilateral cooperation on tourism within the framework of the agreement signed by the respective governments in 1987.

Both countries agreed on the promotion of sustainable tourism by embarking on exploratory projects on community-based programs focusing on agri-tourism and eco-tourism, among others.

“We look forward to more cooperative programs to sustain the huge momentum gained from IMTM including more familiarization trips for Israel media and travel trade and the production of collaterals in the Hebrew language,” Bengzon added.

The Philippines is considered the sixth largest market of Israel in Asia, with pilgrimage tourism as the most popular kind. The exemption from visas to Israel since 1969 has helped develop outbound travel to the said country.

The IMTM 2016 drew 1,560 exhibitors from 46 countries and more than 25,000 visitors from the travel trade and the traveling public.

The Philippine booth highlighted different tourist destinations in Banaue, Boracay, Cebu and Palawan.

By Louise Maureen Simeon | February 21, 2016