During the Golden Week, Chinese tourists boost the economy – both inside China and abroad. In recent years, more Chinese are opting for Israel for vacation. And Israel’s tourism ministry is keen to seize the opportunity.
CGTN’s Stephanie Freid reports.
None of these Shanghai tourists is Roman Catholic, but they’re visiting St. Peter’s Church because they want to know more about religious history.
That’s what they signed on for, a specialized tour. Today they’re in Jaffa, Israel’s ancient port city dating back to the 18th century BCE.
They represent a growing trend of increased Chinese tourism to Israel.
China outpaces all other countries when it comes to Israel visitors and Israel’s tourism ministry is working hard to maintain that status quo. There are direct flights to Tel Aviv from Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and the ministry is creating a Mandarin version of its website.
Travel outfits are catering to Chinese tourists by organizing tours according to very specific interests, like a tour designed for religious history buffs.
A desire for understanding is also what drives many to put aside fears of traveling to the perpetually turbulent Middle East.
Effy is a tourist from Shanghai. “It’s very difficult so that’s why I come here to experience it by myself to see if I can understand it more.” She says, even though she has read both the Old and New Testaments, cover to cover – twice.
Israel is a place that has religions, history, culture and traditional dances other countries have not.