Yariv Levin: We are ready to develop cooperation with Ukrainian tour operators
Early July, within his working visit to Israel, Oleg Vyshniakov, the Honorary Consul of the State of Israel in Western Ukraine, held a meeting with Yariv Levin, the Minister of Tourism of the State of Israel.
During the meeting, the Honorary Consul noted that Ukraine has friendly attitude towards Israel. Today Israel is a role model for Ukraine in many aspects, including agriculture, high-tech, human rights defence, and attitude of the State to its people
Tourist flow between Ukraine and Israel is quite big. Many Israelis are of Ukrainian decent. In Ukraine there are a lot of holy for Jews places, for example grave of rabbi Nahman in Uman. Ukrainians and those from the Western region of Ukraine in particular visit Israel often and with big pleasure as well in order to recreate, for medical tourism and pilgrimage. Thanks to the launching of direct flight Lviv-Tel Aviv-Lviv even under adverse conditions of the economy and devaluation of the currency, tourist flow in both directions has increased. Low-cost flight, launched by the Ukrainian International Airlines with the support of the Honorary Consulate in May, was planed to be once a week regular one. However, in a month after launching the number of flights has doubled, because one single flight could not satisfy a demand.
All these facts show that the potential of the tourist sphere is really high and it is necessary to use best endeavours for its development and solving of a number of current problems.
During the discussion the Honorary Consul brought to the attention of the Minister information on difficult situation on the boarders of the State of Israel that last for a long time. Nearly 3% of Ukrainian tourists were deported by the border guard without assigning any reasons. Last year in such a way 3 thousand Ukrainian tourists were deported and hadn’t seen Israel. Furthermore, people were treated inappropriately. Tourists who just landed had to wait for several hours in stuffy rooms even without the possibility of drinking a glass of water. There were precedents when after such waiting tourists felt bad and hadn’t received medical aid.
"Such treatment is unacceptable. People are disappointed and will never come back to Israel as tourists and will beguile their friends out of such trip. This problem is to be solved as soon as possible. At the airport you may see that boarder guard pay closer attention to those from Ukraine and Russia compared to other passengers. The attitude to visitors from other countries is absolutely different" the Honorary Consul said.
Yariv Levin, the Minister of Tourism of the State of Israel confirmed that tourist flow from Ukraine is big. Last year after Israeli tourist visas were canceled 186 thousand of Ukrainians visited Israel. Mr. Levin admitted that current situation on the boarder does damage to both countries. He also promised to provide all possible assistance.
Minister of Tourism also said that it is necessary to hold an advertizing campaign of Israel in Ukraine. Several similar marketing actions were already held successfully. For further promotion of the State of Israel and presenting more information on the country to the Ukrainians the adoption of the government budget is necessary.
Yariv Levin expressed his readiness to support the initiatives to increase tourism and to assist tour operators be all means.
"I’m ready to develop cooperation with tour operators, airlines companies and hotels. Ministry of Tourism will facilitate the problem solving and implementation of the initiatives of the Embassy of the State of Israel in Ukraine and the Honorary Consulate in Western region of Ukraine on the development of cooperation between the two countries", Yariv Levin concluded.