Monday, April 09, 2018

Israel explores direct air connectivity with Goa

Tel Aviv: Buoyed by the recent direct flight service launched by Air India from New Delhi to Tel Aviv, a top Israeli official said that the country targets a growth of over 65 per cent in Indian tourist arrivals.

The Israeli tourism ministry is working on air connectivity from Indian cities like Cochin and Goa in tourist season.

Air India launched direct flight from New Delhi to Tel Aviv on March 22, reducing the travel time substantially after Saudi Arabia for the first time allowed a commercial flight to use its airspace to reach Israel.

As many as 60,000 Indian tourists visited Israel in 2017, up from 45,000 in 2016 and 39,000 in 2015, showing a steady increase in the total number of Indian tourists’ arrival, said Hassan Madah, director of Israel ministry of tourism in India.

“We have seen the growth year by year. When a new aircraft comes to a country, there is an increase in the capacity (to carry people at better convenience) and we are targeting almost a lakh in 2018,” he told PTI recently.

The tourists’ arrival would definitely be over 80,000, he said.

“We hope that more airlines would come so the  capacity will be bigger. There is scope for more airlines because one from Delhi, three times a week, is not enough,” Madah said.

Air India operates a 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner on New Delhi-Tel Aviv route three days a week.

The permission to fly over Saudi Arabia will save Air India almost two hours and 10 minutes compared to the longer route taken by Israel’s national carrier El Al, which has direct flights between Tel Aviv and Mumbai.

El Al takes a circuitous route over the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and then enters India and avoids countries that are on the direct flight path such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Many Arab and Islamic nations do not recognise Israel and, therefore, do not allow airlines to use their airspace for flight services to Israel.

Madah said that the Israeli tourism ministry is working on connectivity from other Indian cities like Cochin and Goa in tourist season later this year.

Stressing that Israel’s picturesque offerings have a huge potential to attract film shooting, Madah said his ministry is also planning to promote Israel as a destination for making films.

“Over three million people visited Israel last year. Now the tourism in Israel is booming and we are having tourists from many countries not only from India. We have a record number of tourists’ arrival from China, the Philippines and other places,” the Israeli tourism ministry official said.
09/04/18 Navhind Times