Israel Launches Fall/Winter Tourism Advertising Campaign

Country Plans To Spend $150 Million
On Tourism Promotion Over Three Years
New York, NY- October 31, 2006: Israel’s Ministry of Tourism is undertaking a multi-faceted advertising campaign designed to draw visitors to Israel now, says Arie Sommer, Israel’s Tourism Commissioner for North and South America. “The advertising is designed to depict the real Israel,” says Sommer, “and that all in Israel is calm, normal and ‘happening.’” The campaign is designed to change American’s image of Israel as a travel destination. “Everyone knows that Israel is the Promised Land, that Israel is the Holy Land,” explains Sommer, “but what many don’t know is that we are a westernized, high-tech Mediterranean country boasting extraordinary culture, restaurants, attractions, fashion, nightlife and a general sense of hipness and well-being.”

The launch coincides with the request made this weekend by Minister of Tourism, Isaac Herzog, for a three-year special budget of $150 million to promote tourism to the country. The plan, supported by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, will include an emphasis on upscale tourism to Israel, as well as the opening of Israel’s skies to budget airlines.

In the current campaign, 30-second TV commercials are appearing in key zip codes in the New York metropolitan area, as well as in southern Florida and Los Angeles. “The television commercials are part of a three-prong effort to shore up tourism to Israel in the wake of a difficult summer,” Sommer explained. “Through June, tourism from the United States was up 37% in 2006 and Israel had been on the road to its best tourism year in our history,” Sommer said, “but while tourists continued to arrive over the summer, we nevertheless experienced a drop of some 40% as a result of the war.”

In addition to TV advertising, the Ministry of Tourism launched a special tourism campaign to reach Jewish Americans over the Jewish high holidays as well as a series of targeted television commercials across the country on Christian television.

The commercials appearing in New York, Florida and Los Angeles are an updated version of the advertising that ran in the United States earlier this year depicting a fast-paced mélange of scenes, touristic images and activities the public might not automatically associate with Israel, that then climaxes with the punch-line: “Israel. Who knew?” “The new version continues the “Who knew?” punch-line,” explains Sommer, “but underscores that all the scenes depicted in the commercial are happening in Israel right now.”

“In the wake the events of the summer,” explained Sommer, “it is vital for us to get across the message that tourism in Israel is entirely back to normal, that the beaches, cities and tourist sites are open, tourists are coming and that the country is ready, willing and more than able to welcome hundreds of thousands of more visitors this year.”

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