Trend Watch – Israel Reaches Out to North American Tourists

israel tourism campaign

Israel is rolling out a new series of initiatives aimed at boosting tourism from North America. We spoke with Haim Gutin, consul and tourism commissioner for North and South America at the Israel Ministry of Tourism, for the details.

On May 6, 2013, the Israel Ministry of Tourism began a $1.7 million TV spot campaign focused primarily around the New York area. This campaign marks the first time Israel has run a New York-only campaign, Gutin says.

“The campaign is about added value – what you can get more of in Israel,” says Gutin. “It’s about more than just the sea and sand. It’s about Israel’s history, culture, food.”

The campaign is slated to run until the end of September, and follows another six-week campaign Israel ran with Travelzoo.

“Our goal is to reach 1 million North American tourists by 2015,” Gutin says. “We’re not that far away from there.”

To help reach that goal, Israel is also reaching out to travel agencies and tour operators. Israel just hosted members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and, for the first time ever, members of the NTA on trips designed to educate major tour operators on the destination.

“It’s always great to bring new attention to the destination,” Gutin says, noting that more and more travel agencies are selling Israel as a faith-based destination.

For travel agents, next month Israel plans to launch a web-based learning program that will allow agents to educate themselves on the destination and earn a certificate as an Israel specialist. Gutin says that Israel is also planning on doing seminars with major travel agency organizations and home-based travel agencies.

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