Chinese Tourism Minister Shao Qiwei plans to boost activities aimed at exposing Israel as an attractive tourism destination, and says Israel is an extremely intriguing country for the Chinese tourist.
"I believe that mutual cooperation between China and Israel can lead to a huge breakthrough in the tourist traffic between the two countries," he said last week after meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Stas Misezhnikov, in Shanghai.
The Israeli tourism minister held several work meetings in China and took part in the opening of the Israeli stand at the Expo 2010 fair.
During their meeting, the two tourism ministers decided to host a joint tourism conference with representatives from all parts of the industry and to exchange information on developing rural tourism. In addition, the cooperation between the countries will be extended in the fields of culture, science, technology and agriculture.
The Chinese minister said at the end of the meeting that "the Chinese government has made a strategic decision to turn the tourism industry in the country into a key engine of growth, and we are working to implement the national tourism plan, which includes the construction of 1,000 additional five-star hotels in the next five years and the training of professional manpower in foreign languages in order to reach 100 million tourists in the coming years."
Minister Misezhnikov noted that one of the Tourism Ministry's targets was to bring tens of thousands of tourists from China every year by easing visa restrictions on Chinese tourists.
The Chinese outgoing tourism constitutes about 5% of the global outgoing tourism, and is expected to reach 7% by 2020. China is the world's biggest outgoing tourism market, with 46 million tourists a year.