As more and more Chinese families become able to afford overseas trips, Israel has become a popular destination for Chinese visitors. Hence, the people of two ancient nations are enjoying more chances for face-to-face encounters. Israelis believe that mutual respect for ancient cultures is a bridge linking China and Israel.
Israel is a country containing almost all the elements that attract visitors, including historic sites, modern cities, diverse cultures and natural scenery.
Of all the elements, Israelis believe that history ranks first in the minds of Chinese visitors.
“I think there are many similarities between the Chinese and Jewish cultures, and they are both very old. And I think Chinese people have a lot of respect for old culture; also because maybe they have some good opinions about Jewish people. ”
“I think (for) most visitors it has to do with some kind of feeling of mutual culture, very long, very early cultures, very early histories. And I think they feel maybe there is some connection between Jewish culture and Chinese culture. “
According to the Israel Ministry of Tourism, 35 thousand Chinese tourists visited Israel last year, 35 percent higher than the figure for 2013.
Increasing numbers of Chinese visitor arrivals are expected. Therefore, the tourism ministry has opened Chinese language classes for tour guides.
Ella is a tour guide who can speak Chinese fluently.
“(Chinese are) friendly, very friendly. For example when visitors from other countries are dissatisfied with something, quarrels can break out immediately. Chinese tourists are more patient. That’s very important. And I really appreciate it.”
Local residents told CRI’s reporter that Chinese people “don’t come for drinking and partying the way that western tourists do”. So they don’t feel bothered.
“Actually I haven’t noticed anything very bad. I mean they usually go around in a group, and usually they behave very nicely. From my experience, it’s usually Japanese tourists who tour all the time taking pictures; and the American and French tourists are very loud. “
However, Ella has encountered some trouble when she was working with Chinese tourist groups. Ella says there are some food taboos in Judaism – Chinese tourists are told not to eat snacks or instant noodles in restaurants or hotels, but some of them don’t listen.
“…eating on the bus, I’m not alone on the bus and there’s also the driver; and the next thing, water. For example, each tourist has one bottle of water but they don’t finish it and then they take another one. “
Israel is a nation that is short of water resources, and its people cherish every drop of water. The country has even developed leading technologies for irrigation and agriculture, which also interests Chinese people.
Ella adds that more and more Chinese people are showing an interest in things other than history, such as innovations and technology. Some of them are studying at the Hebrew University or Tel Aviv University. The number of business groups from China is on the rise.