The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines‘ Vice President for External Affairs Sagiv Massad facilitated the tourism breakfast meeting held on February 21, 2019, Thursday, at the Tower Club in Makati. Members and friends of ICCP from the tourism industry and a representative from the Embassy of Israel attended the meeting. The chamber aims to catch up with its travel members and to discuss their plans, especially with the news of direct flight from Manila to Tel Aviv.
Types of Tourists from Israel
According to Massad, an Israeli businessman who has been in the Philippines for five years, there are three types of tourists from Israel. Israeli tourists are the backpackers, the businessmen, and the retirees. He also further stated that each type has different qualities and needs. Backpackers are the younger generation who travel primarily for leisure and prefer “roughing it”, going on treks, beaches, and nature trips. Businessmen, on the other hand, do not travel purely for business but appreciate a day or two of leisure in between meetings. Lastly, the retirees. This group, according to Massad may be the most significant in numbers. However, they prefer to go to China and Thailand, and not so much to the Philippines.
Backpackers do not usually get tour packages. Rather, they go for a DIY travel itinerary. “Travel agents can provide emergency numbers to backpackers in case the need arises”, said Massad. “The clients are not the backpackers per se, but their parents”, he further stated.
Filipino Tourists are Mostly Pilgrims
The main reason Filipinos go to Israel is for pilgrimage. These are the travelers who have saved up for this trip. Filipinos consider going to Israel “a trip of a lifetime”. According to Sally Maddatu of Bridges Travel, Filipino tourists prefer four-star and up hotel options. Rose Galang of Ephesus Travel, stated that hotels and flights to Israel get booked early, and therefore advises tourists to book their trips earlier.
The Challenge of Philippine-Israel Tourism
The absence of the direct flight still remains to be a challenge. One of the attendees, Bong Velasquez, Philippine Airline’s Senior Assistant Vice President of Sales, said that once they are granted the overfly permit from Saudi Arabia, the next stage will be the direct flight. Read more about that here.
Meanwhile, other airlines offering flights to Israel such as El Al, Ethiopian, Turkish, Cathay, etc. must remain competitive with their ticket prices.
Check out travel information in Israel here.