Israel incentivises airline operations into Ramon

Eilat, a resort town in Southern Israel

The Israel Ministry of Tourism is preparing for the winter with incentives for airlines to operate flights into Ramon Airport. Aviation companies will receive financial support to operate flights from Europe to Ramon Airport this winter season.

Every airline operating a direct service to the Ramon Airport will receive a subsidy of 60 Euros per passenger. The airline is entitled to a subsidy for a maximum of 75 weekly flights from the same airport, flying from September 1, 2022, through to end May 2023 (except for the holiday periods of October 9-16, 2022 and April 5-13, 2023). The deadline for requests for assistance is September 1, 2022.

“The flights directive relates to financial assistance given by the Israel Ministry of Tourism to support airlines and operators wishing to operate flights in the winter season from Europe to Eilat,” Ksenia Kobiakov, New Markets Development Department Director, Israel Ministry of Tourism, tells TTN in an interview. “The resort, which relies heavily on incoming tourism, was severely impacted by the pandemic. The ministry markets Eilat and the South as a holiday destination with virtually year-round warm weather.

“It is mostly for charters but sometimes we have also airlines who fly all year round.

“Israel is so small. Some airlines use this airport not only for the south of Israel, but as a base for the centre of Israel, to go to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv or maybe stay in Eilat for two days and then to continue their trip to other parts of the country.”

Tourism to Israel peaked in 2019 when the country saw a record number of 4.9 million entries, generating $7 billion for the economy that year. Post pandemic, in the first five months of 2022, about 785,000 foreign tourists entered Israel, up from about 400,000 in all of 2021, according to new data.

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism has allocated $49 million in grants to support establishment of new hotels across Israel or the expansion of existing ones in line with its goal to reach 19 million tourists annually.

Israel is a global destination that provides the perfect conditions to accommodate all UAE visitors, including halal food restaurants. The local Israeli Kosher food is halal-friendly and additionally, the country offers diverse family-oriented hotels and heritage sites which can be explored with the help of Arabic tour guides.

“There is a tremendous potential in the UAE to drive incoming tourists to Israel. I hope travellers from the UAE will appreciate Israel’s unique offerings, and I believe they will want to visit more than once. We look forward to welcoming UAE tourists to witness the wonders of our country. This year, our focus would be to introduce the hidden gem to the travellers from this market.

“We are looking to promote the country as a destination targeting families, FIT experiential travellers, religious, Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) and leisure travellers through various B2B and B2C activities like media and trade familiarization trips, roadshows, cooperation with travel trade and airlines.”

The travel corridor between Israel and the UAE will strengthen bilateral ties whilst building more efficient services to ease travel between both countries. UAE nationals don’t need a visa to enter Israel according to bilateral arrangements announced earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Bahrain and Israel have also been in discussions to increase tourism exchange between the two countries.