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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ural Airlines announced the inauguration of a new route from Moscow to Tel Aviv against the backdrop of a 35% increase in incoming tourism from Russia.

“Russia is one of the most important markets with which we are working to market Israel as an attractive tourism destination,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. 

“This is another important step in our efforts to encourage tourism from Russia and I am convinced that the opening of this route will lead to an additional increase in the number of tourists visiting Israel,” he concluded.

Israel has been employing intensive efforts using grants and marketing assistance to incentivize Russian airlines to open new routes to Israel while at the same time working with tour operators and wholesalers. Most of the large and medium-size tour operators in Russia are already offering vacation packages to Israel.

The Russian Tourism Ministry recently launched the Two Cities One Break advertising campaign, a 24-hour guide to enjoying both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv so as to encourage tourism to both cities. Half of the campaign’s three million euro budget has been allocated to advertising on TV, radio, billboards, and print media, with the other half allocated to online marketing. The marketing program has concentrated on Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Samara.

Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi held a series of meetings with airline companies and tour operators about a month ago at the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition, presenting the ministry’s incentive programs alongside the business potential of Israeli tourism.

Ural Airlines, Russia’s second largest airline, also recently began operating a route twice a week between Sochi and Tel Aviv and will also operate flights this summer to Tel Aviv from Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, and Samara.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the numbers of incoming tourists from Russia has increased by 35% in the first quarter of 2017 relative to the same period in 2016. Hotels in Tel Aviv are also reporting significant increases in overnight stays by Russian tourists compared to the same period last year.

Thanks to a Tourism Ministry incentive to Ural Airlines of 45 euros per passenger flying into Eilat, the company has now been operating three weekly flights to the resort city until May 28—two from Moscow and one from St. Petersburg. In the first quarter of 2017, there was an increase of 130% in the number of Russian tourists staying in Eilat.

Ural has recently become one of several other European airlines newly operating in Israel, such as the Hungarian Wizz Air and the Irish Ryanair.  

By: Ilana Messika