BEIJING, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel hit a record high last year, according to a senior Israeli tourism official.
Over 113,000 Chinese travelled to Israel in 2017, up 41 percent year on year, remaining Israel's fastest growing source of tourists, according to Bora Shnitman, China director of the Israeli Government Tourism Office.
Shnitman attributed the surge in the number of Chinese tourists to more targeted promotion campaigns, streamlined visa applications as well as increasingly convenient transportation with more direct flights.
Followers of Israel's official tourism WeChat account rose more than 200 percent year on year in 2017 while its Sina Weibo fans increased over 60 percent.
Chinese tourists can fly to Israel's commercial hub Tel Aviv directly from Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, and Shnitman expects more direct flight routes from southwest and southern China this year.
Travelling overseas has become a popular choice for increasingly affluent Chinese. Data from the China National Tourism Administration shows that about 129 million overseas trips were made last year, up over 9 percent year on year.
To meet the demands of the growing Chinese tourist market, the Israeli tourism ministry has increased the training of tourist guides and introduced Chinese mobile payment services such as Alipay.
"Israel is likely to see 150,000 Chinese tourists in 2018, and that is an achievable target," said Shnitman.