Tel Aviv – 2019 was a banner year for Israeli tourism to the Philippines. The Department of Tourism reported a significant increase of 12.33 percent in Israeli tourist arrivals to the Philippines last year when a total of 22,851 Israelis explored the different tourist destinations in the country compared to 20,343 in 2018.
“Since 2015, the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Department of Tourism have closely collaborated in promoting the Philippines by participating in the annual and largest tourism fair in Israel—the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM). We have also conducted familiarization tours for tour operators, social media influencers and professional photographers to the most-visited and new destinations in the country. All these efforts contributed to the more than 65 percent increase in Israeli tourist arrivals to the Philippines from 2014 to 2018,” said Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial.
“Israel has become the second largest tourism market of the Philippines in the Middle East next to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The availability of more flight options from Israel to the Philippine destinations in Manila, Clark City, Cebu and Davao made the different parts of the country more accessible to Israeli tourists coming from other Asian countries,” Ambassador Imperial added.
Commenting on efforts to address the COVID-19 threat to the industry, Tourism Attaché Gerry Panga, who is based in London said, “We imposed travel restrictions to any traveler coming from China, Hong Kong and Macau to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We also restricted the travel of our countrymen to the said countries unless extremely necessary. At the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, we mobilized our travel industry and set cleanliness and safety protocols in handling the guests. We value most the safety and protection of our visitors.”
The Philippines offers family-friendly and adventure-filled destinations that cater to different categories of travelers. In 2019, a group of Israeli social media influencers and photographers explored the Bicol region in the south of Luzon. They visited Caramoan island, the shooting location for several seasons of Survivor Israel. The group also enjoyed the pristine and calm waters of Misibis Bay and Lake Bulusan while gazing the perfect cone of Mayon Volcano. They also had a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the gentle giant of Philippine oceans, the whale shark.
Early this year, another group of Israeli social media influencers, photographers and tour operators explored Negros island. They discovered the mystical island of Siquijor with crystal clear waterfalls and white sand beaches, and had a glimpse of the excitement tourists experience during the world-famous Masskara festival held every October in Bacolod City. Off the coast of Dumaguete, the group had lot of fun snorkeling and swimming with incredibly huge sea turtles at Apo Island. With new destinations being promoted by the Department of Tourism such as Bicol and Negros regions, the Philippines expects the momentum of increased Israeli tourist arrivals to continue in the next five years.