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Israel: Tourism is about building friendships

An ambassador’s job in South Korea is one of constant promotion, be it at dinners or at seminars.

The Israeli ambassador recently held a reception for the members of the Korea Tourism Supporters network.

“I consider myself a member of this group, which helps to promote tourism in Korea and I had the chance to go with them to many places in the country,” said Ambassador Tuvia Israeli.

The network is the brainchild of Korea Tourism Organization CEO Lee Charm who organizes trips for members of the supporters group to almost unknown places in the country with the hope of understanding and promoting, domestically and internationally, the country’s valuable tourism gems.
Israel Ambassador Tuvia Israeli (seated, center) announces during a dinner with the Korea Tourism Organization’s monthly supporters meeting that Korean Air will start operating a fourth direct flight to Tel Aviv in March. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
Israel Ambassador Tuvia Israeli (seated, center) announces during a dinner with the Korea Tourism Organization’s monthly supporters meeting that Korean Air will start operating a fourth direct flight to Tel Aviv in March. (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

As for the dinner, the idea came from one of the members who asked Israeli if he could host one of their monthly meetings at the ambassador’s residence.

“This is an opportunity that is forbidden to miss,” he said.

The evening was a way for the ambassador to promote the Israeli economy and the country’s tourism sector, which has been attracting tens of thousands of Korean tourists per year.

Korean Air recently announced that it will be adding a fourth weekly direct flight from Incheon to Tel Aviv starting in March.

“It was a way to introduce to them a little about Israel and to answer some questions and kill some misconceptions,” said Israeli.

Last year more than 40,000 tourists from Korea visited the Holy Land, mostly on religious pilgrimages.

But, more and more Korean tourists are starting to visit Israel for their vacations.

“It’s a rare opportunity to host people who are not in the government,” he said.

The Korea Tourism Supporters network is made up of dozens of people from all walks of life who are enthusiastic about promoting Korea.

Besides businesspeople, artists, models, engineers and academics, there are foreign ambassadors like Israeli who are also interested in revealing the nation’s gems to would-be tourists outside of East Asia.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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