To encourage more Indian travellers to visit Israel, that country has opened a visa application centre in the city for tourists from West Bengal and the north eastern states, sources in the Israel embassy said. Additionally, visa applications in the jurisdiction under the New Delhi centre would also be accepted at the new Kolkata Centre, a release on behalf of the embassy said.
The visa application categories include those who go there for employment, for business, tourism, meeting or conference and for students, it said.
Speaking on the occasion, Hassan Madah, director in the Israeli Ministry of Tourism – India and Philippines, said Israel is experiencing a tourism boom like never before. India has recorded a half yearly growth of 82 per cent in tourists visiting Israel from January to June this year as compared to the same period in 2015 and has become one of the best performing markets in Asia for Israel.
Keeping this in mind, Israel consistently aims to introduce initiatives that ease the procedure of visa applications to Israel, he said.
The new centre in Kolkata will no longer require residents from West Bengal and NE states to send in their documents to the Israeli embassy in New Delhi. “We are confident that this will be seen as a positive move to increase interest among travellers from these regions of India,” Madah said.
Among other initiatives, Israel recently announced a reduction in visa fees to INR 1,100 from its previous INR 1,700 charged from Indians.
In December last year, relaxed visa documentation was brought in for applicants who have availed visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada, Australia or Israel and have completed their travel to these destinations, he said.
The Israeli Ministry of Tourism will be conducting a roadshow in Kolkata on August 29 to increase the interest for visiting the country among consumers and trade fraternity. This will help to tap newer segments of travellers, he said. A maiden roadshow was held at Guwahati in May this year and successfully introduced the varied tourism offerings of Israel, Madah said.
Israel offers a plethora of things to do and see to cater to the discerning traveller. From the historical city of Jerusalem to the beach city of Tel Aviv. From the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, to the marvellous underwater marine life of Red Sea in Eilat, it is a dynamic destination, the release said.