Israel’s Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, right, shakes h[auth] ands with his Indian counterpart Subodh Kant Sahai, left, during a media briefing in Jerusalem, Sunday, June 24, 2012. In the meeting Sunday Misezhnikov announced Israel will train more Hindi-speaking guides and build 200,000 new hotel rooms to welcome the anticipated deluge of tourists. Misezhnikov and Sahai signed a formal working agreement to encourage travel between their two countries. (AP Photo/Blake Sobczak)
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s tourism minister says he is looking to India for a big boost in visits to his country.
Stas Misezhnikov said Sunday that some 40,000 Indians visited Israel last year. While that’s a small percentage of the roughly 3 million tourists Israel gets each year, it’s double the amount of just two years ago.
Misezhnikov said he can bring that figure to 100,000 in three years.
At a news conference with his Indian counterpart, Misezhnikov said Israel will open new flights to destinations in India such as New Delhi, Goa and Calcutta. The Israeli Tourism Ministry also plans to open an office in Mumbai this year.
Misezhnikov and Indian Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai signed an agreement to encourage travel between their countries.
India is a popular destination for Israelis.