“The India market, while focusing on pilgrim, MICE and leisure travel, we are also building our presence in additional sectors that cater to bleisure, education, agritourism, adventure (road trip, hiking trail, competitive racing etc.) tourism.” said Sammy Yahia, Director of Tourism, India & Philippines, Israel Ministry of Tourism.
Q. What are your expectations for the current year from India?
With uncertainty still looming with the virus and travel protocols for COVID-19, I foresee a slow growth curve for travel from India. While there is demand for travel to Israel, there will be gradual movement but in the second half of the year.
Q. What does Tourism in Israel do to promote off-the-beaten track destinations to Indian travellers?
The Israel Ministry of Tourism does many activities in India to keep Israel in the minds of the travellers. We host familiarisation trips for travel agents, corporations, journalists, bloggers, travel influencers etc. The India office also executes marketing agreements with travel partners. I participate in speaking engagements in the different sectors that impact tourism. We also attend meetings with members of the entertainment industry be it films, TV shows, OTT etc.
We also conduct seminars for our partners in the travel industry as well as corporate in business, agro tourism, hi-tech medical etc. We are also now targeting industries that were previously untapped by Israel Tourism like education.
Q. What is the average length of stay recommended for the first-time traveller from India to your country and what range of experiences can one expect during their stay?
I recommend an average visit of 8 days giving the traveller enough time to not only enjoy all the activities that tourists can experience, but also to have the opportunity to experience the culture on a more personal level.
In addition to the delicious food that is available all over the country, travellers’ can immerse themselves in the culture by cultural activities like a Shabbat dinner, visiting some of the many museums in Israel (Holocaust Museum, Israel Museum etc.), touring the Baha’i World Center and Hanging Gardens, traverse the Holy Land trail and many more.
In addition to visiting and exploring Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Galilee and the Dead Sea Region, I also recommend travellers visit the resort city of Eilat for some fun adventure activities, explore Mitzpe Ramon – the world’s largest erosion crater, the historical Crusader city of Akko and my hometown – the port city of Haifa.
Q. Are there any differences between your marketing strategy for India, and other Asian markets?
In Asia, the Israel Ministry of Tourism has offices based in China, Korea, Philippines, India and newly established presence in the UAE. While each office focuses on the tourism demand for their market, the common focus for the Asia region is on pilgrim, MICE and leisure.
The India market, while focusing on pilgrim, MICE and leisure travel, we are also building our presence in additional sectors that cater to bleisure, education, agritourism, adventure (road trip, hiking trail, competitive racing etc.) tourism.
Connectivity (for Indian market)
Direct Flight: Air India – Delhi – Tel Aviv
Transit Flight (shortest transit): Turkish Airlines – Mumbai/ Delhi – Istanbul – Tel Aviv
Emirates – Multiple Indian Cities – Dubai – Tel Aviv
Etihad Airways - Multiple Indian Cities – Dubai – Tel Aviv
Vaccination and Quarantine rules in Israel for Indians
1. Take a PCR test in the 72 hours before the flight or arrival at the Israeli border crossing. You must present an official document with the negative test result and your passport number.
2. A health insurance policy with coverage for the treatment of COVID-19 is required
3. Complete and submit the entry statement form 48 hours before the flight to Israel or within 10 days before arrival to Israeli border crossing
4. PCR test upon arrival at Israeli border crossing
* Completed Visa Application Form
* Current and old passport
* 2 Passport photographs (5.5 x 5.5cm)
* Employment Letter
* Application’s Cover Letter
* Bank statement – 4 months
* Travel insurance including COVID-19 coverage
* Travel ticket (unconfirmed ticket)
* Travel Itinerary when in Israel
* Copy of Aadhar Card and current passport (front and back page)