Panaji, July 28 (IANS) Goa plans to learn from Israel in order to promote and pursue its model of rural tourism, which is a hit in that country.
According to Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar, the Goa government has given its "full support to start this new chapter in ties with Israel". Goa has stepped up efforts to improve the landscape of its villages, so as to make it more attractive for the tourists.
The state government has already tied up with the Mumbai-based National Israeli Tourism Office (NITO) for the exercise.
"We will cooperate in this field (rural tourism) in exchange of knowledge and know-how. In this way, villagers can live a rural, satisfied way of life, which is not brutalised by the cities," NITO director Albert Benabou told IANS.
Rural tourism would deter the migration of the rural populations to the cities in search of jobs, Benabou said.
Benabou also said that a vital need for enhancing tourism between Goa and Israel was the commencement of a direct flight, connecting both the places.
This is in addition to three other flights a week between Mumbai and Tel Aviv.
"We are happy to announce that the first added flight between India and Israel will leave from Goa. Crucial to the implementation of this is to ensure that there is no empty leg either way," Benabou said.
Israel has emerged as one of the more sought after nations for Goa's 26 per cent Christian population, who find the 'Holy Land' where Jesus Christ was born as an ideal destination for an international pilgrimage.
NITO statistics show that 56 percent of global tourists who visit Israel are Christians, 23 percent are Jews, while just one per cent are Muslims.
Nissim MosesJuly 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM