In anticipation of additional direct flight routes between Beijing and Tel Aviv set to launch this fall, Israel’s ambassador to China, Matan Vilnai, vowed to see 100,000 Chinese tourists coming to visit Israel in 2017.
Hainan Airlines, the largest privately owned Chinese airline and China’s fourth-largest air carrier, will start direct flights from Beijing to Tel Aviv in 2015. Currently, only El Al flies between China and Israel, with three weekly flights. The route is slated to operate three days a week, on days that El Al does not fly the route.
Hainan Airlines, who are ranked as one of only seven airlines to be ranked as a five-star airline by Skytrax, have been given approval to fly up to 14 weekly flights.
In 2014, 126 million Chinese tourists traveled the world. Only about 34,000 came to Israel, according to ministry data. Nonetheless, the data showed a steady rise in Chinese tourists, up 76% in 2014 over 2012.
China became the largest source of global tourism in 2012. The number is predicted to increase even further, to 200 million overseas tourists by 2020, the Tourism Ministry data said. In 2014 alone, Chinese tourists spent US$120b.