People walk down Jaffa Street in Jerusalem on a Shabbat afternoon..
(photo credit: ONDREJ ŽVÁCEK/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Against the backdrop of a protracted terrorism wave that has wrought fiscal havoc on the capital’s economy, a recent far-reaching PR campaign launched by the Jerusalem Municipality has resulted in a significant boost in tourism.
The campaign was initiated after the Finance Ministry allocated NIS 100 million for emergency loans late last month to aid hard-hit business owners whose profits, in many cases, have been cut in half.
Of that amount, NIS 20m. was used to launch the tourism initiative, which is being overseen by the municipality in conjunction the Jerusalem Development Authority and Culture and Tourism Ministries.
According to municipality tourism director Ilanit Melchior, the campaign has already paid dividends in drawing Israelis and overseas visitors to the struggling capital this month.
Shortly after the campaign began, Melchior said that nearly 50,000 visitors came to the city over the first two weekends of December to celebrate Hanukka and enjoy the city’s vaunted cultural and entertainment attractions.
Moreover, she said the campaign resulted in an up to 40 percent spike in the number of visitors to the city’s Hanukka festival and many museums, compared to the same period last year.
Mayor Nir Barkat said the municipality and development authority will continue to invest millions in strengthening the capital’s economy through the campaign, which will promote festivals, cultural events, and numerous discounted hotel packages and restaurant offers.
“Despite the sensitive security situation, the municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority have managed to attract thousands of visitors to spend time and money in Jerusalem in the fields of culture, tourism, which has strengthened businesses in the city,” he said.