Feature: Israel seeks to lure back Chinese tourists via organizing tour of online influencers-Xinhua

Feature: Israel seeks to lure back Chinese tourists via organizing tour of online influencers

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-06-08 20:56:00

JERUSALEM, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Israel is trying hard to lure back tourists from China, one of the top 10 origin countries of inbound tourism before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020. Recently, Israel came up with a creative idea to reach more Chinese tourists: inviting online influencers to visit Israel.

"Israel is rich in tourism resources, including the magical Dead Sea and dynamic Tel Aviv. Israel is also a high-tech entrepreneurial country, and we warmly hope Chinese tourists will come to explore Israel," Roy Kriezman, the China-based representative of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, told Xinhua in a video message, speaking in fluent Chinese.

Kriezman was commenting on the tour of Israel by a group of 10 famed Chinese vloggers, who on Wednesday visited the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv, the last leg of their week-long trip organized by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

The center, located on the Mediterranean coast with a breathtaking view of the blue sea, was founded in 1996 by former Israeli President Shimon Peres. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been popular among many Chinese for his peace-making efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian violence and visiting China for several times to promote Israel-China ties.

By displaying Israel's leading technologies and innovations in many fields, the center has also become a window to showcase Israeli culture and innovations to the world.

This could be a strong appeal to Chinese tourists as the two countries established an innovative comprehensive partnership in 2017. The innovation cooperation has become a highlight and a driving force for boosting bilateral ties, as demonstrated by the joint creation of the China-Israel Changzhou Innovation Park and the China-Israel (Shanghai) Innovation Park.

During the tour of the Chinese vloggers, the Peres Center tried by every means to make the Chinese guests feel at home by translating the introductions in each showroom into Chinese.

"Welcome to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation," read a Chinese message which flashed on a huge screen to greet the Chinese visitors.

Chinese elements were also evident in the office where Peres used to work on the top floor of the center. The Chinese vloggers took photos of themselves sitting on Peres' chair at the office, which is decorated with a red-colored plate from China's famed Tsinghua University and many Chinese books displayed on the bookshelf.

"This is my opportunity to invite all of you, every Chinese tourist, please come visit Israel, visit the innovation center. It will be an amazing experience, I assure you," Tamar Nitzan, the innovation community leader of the Peres Center, told Xinhua as she guided the Chinese vloggers during their visit to the center.

Israel has seen a resurgence in inbound tourism since the start of this year, following the lifting of its COVID-related restrictions on foreign tourists.

It welcomed 1.76 million foreign visitors in the first five months of 2023, a significant bounce back from 791,300 during the same period last year, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

"This is my second visit to Israel after 13 years, but I was still deeply impressed by the vitality of the ancient civilization," said Wang Xiao, an influencer with more than 3 million followers on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform in China.

During the trip, the Chinese online influencers visited major tourist spots across Israel, from the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve near the Dead Sea to the modern city of Tel Aviv.

"I strongly recommend visiting museums in Israel," Wang offered her advice to potential Chinese visitors to Israel. "Israel boasts a wealth of historical resources, while the latest technologies displayed in the museums also provide an unprecedented experience," she said.

Li Zimu, the China-based media manager of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, told Xinhua that the ministry is cooperating with major Chinese travel agencies and user-generated content sites to promote Israeli tourism in China, and "more influencers will be invited to discover the beauty of Israel."

"The number of fully independent travelers has been resurging gradually since travel restrictions were eased in China earlier this year," Li said.

Currently, there are 14 flights operational every week between Tel Aviv and the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, which can meet the demand of Chinese tourists visiting Israel, she said. ■