“We are looking forward to the arrival of UAE citizens in Israel and the day we can fly to visit in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We will not limit the number of tourists from the UAE. The peace agreement creates enormous potential for the Israeli economy and tourism, and we will do everything we can to promote cooperation between the two countries.”
This is what Israel Tourism Minister Assaf Zamir (pictured) said in an interview with UAE journalist Fahd al-Amiri.
Zamir added: “The two countries are geographically close to each other. It’s only a 3 hour flight between Israel and the Emirates. Israelis also like to travel to new destinations… and the amazing achievements we hear about the UAE make [many Israelis] excited to go there.”
The Minister mentioned in the interview that the main Arab countries Israeli citizens can visit are Egypt and Jordan. And there, too, Israelis go only in small numbers of about 200,000 tourists a year. Many more Israelis visit Asian countries, such as India and Thailand.
Segments from the interview:
Can tourists from the UAE visit Jerusalem?
“We want all tourist sites to be open without restrictions to tourists coming from the Emirates, both religiously oriented sites and non-religious. In general I think all Israel will be open to the Emirate tourist.”
How will direct flights of airlines between the two countries attract more tourists?
“… mainly because … that makes it easier for the tourist to fly and travel between the countries.”
How does Israel see the tourism industry of the Emirates?
“I think Israeli tourists are excited to visit your country because we know that your country is a hospitable country and welcomes tourists from all over the world. In addition to the great beaches and restaurants you have, the unique culture attracts crowds to your country from everywhere.”
What tourism products will the State of Israel offer to tourists from the United Arab Emirates?
“The religious sites all over the country and chiefly the city of Jerusalem… not only the religious sites but also the cultural sites and other historical sites in Israel. In addition we offer tourists diverse culinary experiences; the city of Tel Aviv and its wonderful restaurants and beaches; Eilat and desert attractions; the Negev, also the Upper Galilee and beautiful Mount Hermon covered in snow.”
Abdullah al-Mohiri, owner of the Golden Eagle Travel and Tourism Agency in Ras al-Khaimah, UAE said that peace and prosperity are two sides of the same coin, and one cannot be achieved without the other. Abdullah expects that the peace agreement will contribute to cooperation with the Israeli side and to the prosperity of all economic spheres, especially tourism, by virtue of being linked to stability in the region.”
On our side, tourism agents in Israel are eagerly awaiting the moment the peace agreement will enter into force. On the one hand, the agents think that many Emirate tourists will want to come to the holy sites in Israel and especially to Jerusalem. On the other hand, they think that the demand of Israelis to fly to Dubai and Abu Dhabi will outweigh the demand to fly to Turkey or Greece.