Israel’s tourism minister traveled to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the first public visit by an Israeli minister to the kingdom, said Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in a statement.
Haim Katz “is the first Israeli minister to head an official delegation in Saudi Arabia,” the statement reads. The visit also came amid talks between the two countries to normalize relations.
Katz will attend a conference sponsored by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the kingdom during his two-day trip, it added.
“Tourism is a bridge between nations,” Katz was quoted as saying in the statement. “Cooperation in the field of tourism has the potential to bring hearts together and economic progress,” he added.
Also on Tuesday, the first Saudi Ambassador to Palestine Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi presented his credentials to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his first visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Katz’s visit comes amid efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his visit to the UN General Assembly last week that a normalization deal is “within reach.” In the meantime, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud told Fox News that “every day we get closer (to a deal),” but stressing the welfare of Palestinians remains an issue.