Hong Kong travel agents are waking up to Israel's potential as a new hot destination. With weekly direct flights now available to Tel Aviv, and the Middle East peace process opening new opportunities for regional tours, big agencies such as Morning Star, Wing On and Sunpac, the Israeli airline El Al's general sales agent in Hong Kong, are showing a keen interest. But, as El Al's Abraham Roter admits, the potential is still mostly untapped. Western Europe and North America have long realised that few countries have as much to offer the tourist as Israel. The task now is to market Israel as a tourist destination for a part of the world which has not traditionally looked to the Middle East and knows little or nothing of its extraordinary charms. That is why Morning Star is sending actors Tin York- lee, Kwong Mei-yee and Lam Wai to Israel later this month to make a three-part travelogue for ATV. Morning Star deputy general manager Kenny Tsang Chi-kin said: 'It is a good time to introduce people to the Holy Land. 'The Bible story is set in Israel. Hong Kong people are seeking new destinations. So why not Israel?' Hong Kong people saw Israel as secret and mysterious in the same way Westerners viewed China as mysterious, he said. The company is paying $1.5 million to sponsor the trip and buy the airtime. Israel offers vast variety, but it is all easily accessible. An hour from the Old City of Jerusalem, with its ancient ruins and places of worship for three major world religions, is the sun, sea and sand of the Mediterranean. Travel from the spectacular splendour of Herod's ancient desert fortress at Massada to the Dead Sea hundreds of metres below involves no more than a fairly tough walk, or a trip in a cable car. From the snow-covered slopes of Mount Hermon in the north, through the pleasant green hills of the Golan and the Galilee, down through the harsh deserts of the Negev to the Red Sea resort of Eilat at Israel's southern tip is a car journey that takes little more than half-a- day. And Hong Kong's Christians now have a real opportunity to experience the emotional fulfilment pilgrims to the Holy Land have felt for 2,000 years. With the Pyramids of Egypt and the Sinai desert, the ancient Jordanian capital at Petra and the historic sites of Turkey and Greece all easily accessible from Israel, a package tour would be the holiday of a lifetime.