Speech by Ambassador Alon Ushpiz on the Occasion of Opening of the Israeli Pavilion At SATTE 2013 , New Delhi
Tourists are in the end of the day, like guests in your home.
One of the most beautiful attributes of Indian culture is the importance it stresses on hospitality and treatment of guests, even complete strangers. This is expressed in the ancient Hindi saying:
“Athiti devo bhava” - Guest is God
Similarly, in Jewish tradition, Hachnasat Orchim - showing hospitality to the stranger - is one of the key components of Jewish identity. Indeed, our great Sages maintained that welcoming a stranger possessed a higher level of holiness than welcoming the Divine Presence.
In this spirit, I wish to welcome you all to the Israeli Pavilion in SATTE 2013, in which Israel's leading tour operators and travel companies will showcase the wonders of Israel to the tourism business community of India.
The year 2012 saw India emerging as the number 1 source country of
tourism from Asia to Israel. The number of Indian tourists to Israel
is dramatically growing, and is reaching over 50,000 people a year, rising from 40,000 in the previous year.
Seeing the huge potential of Indian tourists, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism decided to put India at the forefront of its promotional activity in Asia, and is in the advanced stages of opening a fully operational tourism promotion office in Mumbai. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Albert Ben Abu, who is dedicating many efforts into this important task.
Israel is a fascinating country - an open and democratic society with a mesmerizing blend of cultures, religions, beliefs, traditions and ways of life. A visitor to Israel is offered a unique, exciting and diverse experience, with an array of options to choose from.
From Snowboarding in Mt. Hermon to Water Skiing and Sky diving in Eilat on the Red Sea Riviera; From dancing the night away in one of Tel Aviv’s world famous night clubs, to being enchanted by the holiest places to Christians, Jews and Moslems in Jerusalem’s old city; From world class spas overlooking both the Mediterranean and the sea of Galilee, to authentic Bedouin desert tent hospitality and camel rides; from mouth watering falafel on every street corner, to Tel Aviv’s world class restaurants offering exquisite cuisine from around the world – Indeed, Israel is a true undiscovered gem to most Indians.
You are all welcome to visit this pavilion, and get a taste, an aperitif, if you like, of an experience that will change your life – your next visit to Israel.