BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- China continued to be Israel's fastest growing source of tourists in the first seven months of this year, according to Israel's top tourism official.
Over 64,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel from January to July this year, up 66 percent year on year, outpacing the global average of 17 percent year on year, Yariv Levin, Israeli Minister of Tourism said during his first official visit to China.
Levin attributed the rapid growth in Chinese tourists to more convenient transportation as there are now direct flights to Israel's commercial hub Tel Aviv from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Israel's tourism ministry has stepped up cooperation with Chinese online tourism platforms. It signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China's largest online travel agency Ctrip earlier this month to promote the country's unique tourism resources in a targeted manner.
Travelling overseas has become a popular choice among increasingly affluent Chinese. Data from China National Tourism Administration shows that about 62 million overseas trips were made in the first half of this year, up 5 percent year on year.
To meet the demands of the growing Chinese market, the Israeli tourism ministry has increased training of tourist guides and is building a Chinese version of its official website, according to Levin.