Chinese tourists visit Israel. (CGTN Photo)
A growing number of Chinese tourists are opting to head to Israel for vacation, an opportunity the country's tourism ministry is keen to seize.
Over 64,000 Chinese visited Israel from January to July this year, a 66%-increase on last year's figures, official data from Israel's tourism department shows.
China outpaces all other countries when it comes to tourist numbers to Israel and the tourism ministry is working hard to maintain the status quo.
In September, Israel's tourism ministry signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China's largest online travel agency Ctrip to promote the country's unique tourism resources.
There are direct flights to Tel Aviv from Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and the country's tourism ministry is currently creating a version of its website in Mandarin.
Travel groups are catering to Chinese tourists by organizing tours according to very specific interests, such as tours tailored for religious history buffs.
A desire for understanding is also what drives many to head to a region which many see as perpetually turbulent.
Instead, Chinese travelers are keen to experience Israel's religion, history, culture and traditional dance.
"It's very difficult so that's why I come here to experience it for myself to see if I can understand it more," said Effy, a tourist from Shanghai, adding that she has read both the Old and New Testaments, cover to cover – twice.