Feature: Ancient Jerusalem attracts growing Chinese tourists

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-02 04:24:48|Editor: Yang Yi
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by Keren Setton

JERUSALEM, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Jerusalem, an old city in the Middle East considered holy by Jews, Muslims and Christians, has seen a growing tourism sector in recent years, particularly an increase of Chinese tourists to the city.

According to the annual tourism report of Britain-based Euromonitor International, there was an increase of almost 40 percent in the number of tourists to Jerusalem in 2018, making it one of the fastest growing destinations in the world.

Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David foundation in the center of Jerusalem's Old City, said there have been common grounds between the Chinese and Jewish people.

The Chinese people love coming here and seeing a wall which was built by Jews at the same time as the Great Wall of China, Spielman noted.

As part of its attempt to lure more Chinese tourists, the City of David park announced earlier last month that it had translated its popular night-time sound and light show into Mandarin, the official language of China, so that biblical characters now speak Chinese to tell the ancient story on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

"There aren't too many places in the world that the Chinese people can come and find another group of people that go back thousands of years as they do," Spielman stressed.

The City of David is a very popular archeological site in the region, where tourists can sift through debris to help find the next archeological discoveries. The Chinese tourists top the list of incoming tourists from Asia to Israel,

Tourism from China has become increasingly important to Israel, which has launched initiatives to better cater to the specific needs of the Chinese tourists, such as inviting Chinese chefs to teach how to cook the Chinese cuisines.

Direct flights between China and Israel were further increased in frequency in 2018, with now dozens of weekly direct flights between the two countries.

"We're translating our films into Chinese because we want to welcome (the Chinese)," said Spielman.

"We want to let them know that Israel and China have great relations today and it's important for us to have Chinese people come and visit this site," he added.