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Israel wants to setup road links with UAE, says 130,000 tourists visited: Diplomat

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Israel is looking to set up road links with the UAE to further strengthen the bilateral trade corridor, Emirati state news agency reported on Monday citing an Israeli envoy.

Around 130,000 Israeli tourists had visited the UAE since diplomatic relations were established in September's Abraham Accords, added Eitan Naeh, Head of Mission at the newly-opened Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

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"Now we are looking into the potential of trailers and lorries carrying goods from the UAE reaching Israel in three days and vice versa in the near future," he said.

Trade is currently conducted between the two countries by air, which takes a few hours, or by sea, which takes 16 days.

"It all has to be investigated. Business communities in Israel and the UAE are now looking into ways to increase trade. Each country brings its relative advantage. We have trade agreements with the West [US and European Union]. You are an opening to the East. So, it is a huge market," said the 57-year-old diplomat, who arrived in Abu Dhabi a week earlier.

The envoy spoke about how Israelis are “very curious people” who “like to travel,” adding that he had spoken with tourism industry leaders in his home country who estimated around 50,000 Israelis were likely travel to the UAE every month.

Once COVID-19 is no longer a concern, Naeh also expects many tourists from the UAE to visit Israel.

“Israel has got many climate zones, forests and mountains and water bodies, which will attract visitors from the UAE,” he said.

"We are very ancient people. We carry with us a long history. We carry that bag on our back, but we’re certainly the kind of people like yourselves [Emiratis] who look very much into the future," he said.

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