The standards of Chinese restaurants in Israel are "disgusting," Xuan Chan, a senior official in China’s embassy in Tel Aviv said during a Tourism Ministry symposium on the subject of Chinese tourism to Israel.
"Many new and better places will have to open if you want the tourists from China to visit here,” she said.
Despite the concern about the food, Chinese officials said Israel is regarded as a preferred destination for tourists. China is one of the world’s largest exporters of travelers and this could have a significant impact on the industry here. Data from the embassy indicate that 29 million Chinese traveled to international destinations, spending some USD 30 billion in 2004.
However, Chinese officials complained about the treatment they have received by Israeli security and the government.
Chan said that Chinese diplomats and business people who visited Israel had been humiliated by El Al security in Beijing even before getting on the airplane and then again at Ben Gurion airport upon arrival.
“If the appropriate measures are not taken tourists will not come,” she said.
She also said it was ridiculous to demand that Chinese tourists put down USD 3,000 as a guarantee they will leave the country at the end of their visit.
Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Chong Yung Long, said China has a wealthy segment of its population that enjoys traveling, especially to Western countries, and he said this could include Israel.