Israel closes tourism office in Kiev


KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — Israel’s Tourism Ministry is closing its office in Kiev and reconsidering allowing Ukrainian citizens to visit without a visa.

Olga Savenkova, representative of the Ministry of Tourism in Ukraine, announced last week in Kiev that the office would close as of July 1 in the wake of the world economic crisis and the resulting decreased number of tourists from Ukraine.

According to Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov,  “the middle class is impoverished in Ukraine.” That is one of the reasons “why the Israeli Foreign Ministry is currently reviewing the rationality of visa-free traveling for the Ukrainians,” he said Tuesday.

Lawmaker Aleksandr Feldman, leader of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and head of a Ukraine-Israel interparliamentary committee, said that Israel is still considering abolishing travel visas for Ukrainians and “a group of members of Ukraine’s parliament will visit Israel soon to discuss the issue." 

An agreement on visa-free mutual trips for Russian and Israeli tourists went into effect last September. Russian tourism to Israel has not suffered as much from the world economic crisis.

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