Come April, Tanzania will be hosting tourists from Israel, when the Tel Aviv-based El Al Israel Airlines launches its once-a-week flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport in northern Tanzania’s tourist circuit.At least 150 tourists from the Christian Holy Land (Israel), will be flying to Tanzania every week, bringing 600 Israeli visitors to Tanzania’s premier tourist attractive sites in the northern circuit every month.
The Northern Tanzania tourist circuit is made up of Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, the famous Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park, and Lake Manyara National Park, famous for its rare tree-climbing lions.
The flights between the Holy City of Jerusalem and Kilimanjaro International Airport will be carried out by an El Al aircraft, operating as a charter flight.
Tel Aviv-based travel company, Menelik, will be organizing tours between Israel and Tanzania, said Ronit Hershkovitz, the company’s Managing Director.
From Tanzania, pilgrims heading to Jerusalem will book the El Al Airline back to Israel for a five-hour direct flight between Tanzania and Israel, Ronit said.
While Israeli tourists will be visiting Tanzania mostly for wildlife photographic safaris, Tanzanian travelers to Israel will be visiting the holy cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Galilee, and other Christian historical sites of Israel.
Trips to the Christian holy cities cover most places where Jesus Christ spent his days and life including Jerusalem, Joppa – where prophet Jonah boarded a ship to Tarshishi, Caesarea – where prophet Paul was imprisoned, and Nazareth – where Jesus spent his early years.
Other holy places falling under the just-released 2006 itinerary are Capernaum, Tiberias, the city of Jerusalem, Golan Heights, Judean Hills, Galilee, Negrev, and the coastal plain of the Red Sea.
Pilgrimage trips to Israel would help boost Tanzania’s tourism and travel industry among Israelis who mostly visit Kenya and Ethiopia, but this time through an exchange program between Israel and Tanzania, more Israeli tourists are expected to land in Tanzania.
Christians in Tanzania have visiting the Holy Land in response to the frequent calls made by the late Pope John Paul II telling Catholics and other Christians across the world to visit Israel.
Trips to Israel are the most exciting tailor-made travels attracting many Tanzanians and foreigners working in Tanzania, because they are much more affordable to most travelers as compared to other trips outside the African continent.
Generally, airfares from Tanzania to Europe and Asia, the nearest continents, are higher and are only affordable to senior citizens, diplomats, and government officials. It costs about US$1,400 for a single Tanzanian to make a week-long trip to the Holy Land. This includes airfare and accommodation costs.
Israel recorded a large number of tourists last year, mostly Christian pilgrims. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics reported that tourist entries rose 0.5 percent to 3.53 million in 2013 from 3.52 million in 2012. Tourist entries by air rose 4 percent to 2.58 million in 2013 from 2.48 million the previous year.