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Sunday, November 25, 2012
Tourism Ministry: Tourism Industry Leaders Meet to Formulate Plan to Return to Normal

25 November 2012

TOURISM INDUSTRY LEADERS MET TO
FORMULATE PLAN TO RETURN TO NORMAL

TOURISM MINISTER STAS MISEZHNIKOV: “OPERATIONAL STEPS WILL BE TAKEN WITHIN
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS TO RETURN INCOMING TOURISM TO ITS PATH OF STEADY GROWTH
OF THE LAST 3 YEARS. THE SCOPE OF THE DAMAGE TO THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IS NOT
INSIGNIFICANT BUT REHABILITATING TOURISM AND ENSURING THAT RESIDENTS IN THE
SOUTH ONCE AGAIN HAVE INCOME IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE VICTORY AND IS A
NATIONAL MISSION”

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, Tourism Minister Director-General Noaz
Bar Nir and senior representatives from the ministry met Thursday (22
November 2012) with tourism industry leaders in an initiative of the
Federation of Israeli Tourist Organizations chaired by Michael Federmann to
formulate a plan to rehabilitate tourism and to ensure a return to normal in
the industry.

Damage Assessment and the Potential for Rehabilitation:
Tourism industry representatives at the meeting reported cancellation rates
of between 10-20% on average and a slow-down on future reservations. The
damage has also been felt in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and even in other
regions across the country. Tourism industry representatives said that the
damage could be minimized and it was estimated that the potential for
rehabilitation is large in relation to other crises the industry has dealt
with. The representatives stressed the urgency in implementing
rehabilitative actions because, with the tourism industry unlike others, it
is impossible to get back a large part of that which was lost. They also
said that showing life returning to normal is most important in returning
the flow of incoming tourism to Israel. The Federation of Israeli Tourist
Organizations has taken upon itself the work of contacting those
organizations which have made cancelations in order to persuade them to
reverse their decisions.

As regards airlines flying in to Israel, it would appear, to date, that the
damage is short-term only and that there were not many long-term
cancellations. No scheduled airline canceled incoming flights and only a few
charter flights were canceled.

The Tour Guides Association recommended sending tour guide representatives,
with the assistance of the Incoming Tour Operators’ Association, to meet
with groups overseas who are planning to visit Israel within the next few
months in order to explain the situation.

It was agreed that the urgent activities obligate the inclusion and
participation of all the relevant bodies in the tourism industry and the
government.

Decisions include:

To concentrate the marketing activities on the next three months, especially
among the end-users, i.e. the tourists themselves and to increase marketing
campaigns in the leading source countries for incoming tourism - USA, Russia
and various European countries. It should be noted that a major tourism
campaign is scheduled to launch very soon in Russia, as well as a campaign
targeted to the Evangelical market in the USA.

To increase assistance and incentives to incoming tourism operators and
aviation companies – the Tourism Minister sent a letter to the Finance
Minister requesting additional budgets in order to offer a safety net for
the next four weeks to charter operators flying into Eilat, in order to
avoid cancellations and the irreversible damage that would cause to the
winter season. This request was submitted to the Finance Ministry after the
budget has effectively been closed.

To expand activities in the digital sphere: to initiate and distribute
photos of tourists in Israel showing that life has returned to normal. A
video testimonial is currently being produced, in cooperation with the Tel
Aviv municipality. Tourists visiting the sites in Jerusalem will also be
photographed.

A marketing campaign directed at domestic tourism, primarily in the south,
in addition to offering attractive deals for Israelis.

The Tourism Ministry is investigating the possibility of increasing the
marketing fund that will finance, among others, sending tour guides overseas
to meet with tour groups scheduled to visit Israel in the next few months
and to encourage their arrival and avoid cancellations.

The Tourism Ministry Director-General sent a letter to the Civil Service
Commission and other bodies in the private and public sector urging them to
give preference to the south when scheduling professional conferences and
seminars

To work in the diplomatic arena to remove travel warnings

To increase the hosting of decision-makers from overseas in order to
underline that life is returning to normal

Tourism Minister Director-General Noaz Bar-Nir said that the ministry would
investigate the recommendations and formulate a plan within the next few
days.
__________

Lydia Weitzman
Foreign Press Adviser to the Ministry of Tourism
052-3584395
israeltourismministry@gmail.com

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