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Talks on Direct Tel Aviv-UAE Flights, Visas in ‘Advanced Stages’

Desert Star Tourism LLC > Blog > Talks on Direct Tel Aviv-UAE Flights, Visas in ‘Advanced Stages’

Israeli Tourism Ministry prepares to welcome Gulf visitors as Emirates Flight Catering signs MOU to set up kosher food production facility in UAE

Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are in advanced stages of establishing direct aviation routes and concluding bilateral agreements for tourist visas, Israel’s Tourism Ministry has revealed.

Only days after signing a historic peace agreement, Israel’s tourism sector is already reporting a wave of interest from Emirati tour operators, travel agencies and hotels wishing to collaborate on ventures for both Israeli and Gulf travelers.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Israel’s Tourism Ministry is preparing for what it hopes will mark a turning point for tourist activity in the region.

In a statement to The Media Line, the ministry said the peace agreement signed at the White House this week “creates enormous potential” for tourism between Israel and the UAE and emphasized that negotiations were taking place at an “accelerated” pace.

“Agreements regarding the opening of direct aviation routes and tourism visas are in their advanced stages,” the ministry said. “Given the high levels of motivation on both sides, it is hoped that an agreement between the parties on these issues will be concluded soon.”

Agreements regarding the opening of direct aviation routes and tourism visas are in their advanced stages

Ministry representatives as well as professionals from the private sector are holding talks with their UAE counterparts on a wide variety of business proposals relating to aviation, marketing and joint tourism packages.

“One of the issues that the professional representatives agreed to promote swiftly is joint marketing with a third country – Middle East tour packages – that will combine a visit to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, on flights that will overfly Saudi Arabia,” the ministry added..

Last week, the Israeli airline Israir announced it would offer direct flights to Abu Dhabi pending approval from the Emirati and Israeli authorities. Meanwhile, El Al and the UAE-based carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates will reportedly launch Tel Aviv-Dubai routes in the coming months.

Regarding travel to Israel, the Tourism Ministry revealed that it was crafting packages geared toward Emirati visitors in addition to creating an Arabic-language marketing website. The government body said it hoped to move forward with its plans as early as next year and that it expected a “high number” of travelers coming from the UAE – coronavirus permitting.

“Israel has much to offer the Emirati tourist, from the holy sites in and around Jerusalem such as the Temple Mount [and Aqsa Mosque] compound, the Mount of Olives and the Cave of the Patriarchs [in Hebron] to archeological sites rich in history around the country,” the ministry said in its statement. “Israel has a vibrant cultural and entertainment scene, offers diverse culinary experiences that include halal options, and Arabic is widely spoken.”

Israel has a vibrant cultural and entertainment scene, offers diverse culinary experiences that include halal options, and Arabic is widely spoken

Kosher Food Options on the Table

To make Israeli visitors feel welcome, UAE-based tour operators, airlines and hotels are working to ensure that several kosher food options are on the table.

To this end, Emirates Flight Catering on Thursday announced that it had partnered with CCL Holdings to set up a dedicated kosher food production facility. The joint venture, dubbed Kosher Arabia, is slated to take off in January.

Emirates Flight Catering is one of the largest catering operations in the world and works with over 100 airlines. Its chief executive officer, Saeed Mohammed, contracted with Ross Kriel, founder of CCL Holdings and head of the Jewish Council of the Emirates, for the project.

“All kosher meals for all Emirate Airlines flights will be made out of freshly made kosher ingredients at the highest standards. These meals will be fully produced in Dubai and the goal is to produce the best kosher meals in the world,” Kriel told The Media Line.

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