The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced on Tuesday that it would hold its 86th annual tourism conference in Jerusalem this October, marking the first time the conference has ever been held outside of Paris.

Just as Israeli officials lauded the country’s acceptance into the OECD last month, Tuesday saw similar words of praise regarding the organization’s decision to hold the conference in the capital, emphasizing the boost the event would give Israel’s tourism industry and economy.

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“The choice of Israel, and in particular Jerusalem, is a vote of confidence in the Israeli tourism industry and its economy,” read a statement released on Tuesday by the Tourism Ministry.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer are scheduled to attend the conference, as are 50 tourism ministers and representatives from the OECD’s 30 other member states, and officials from other countries.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the three-day conference will deal with “green growth,” as derived from the OECD program to develop and promote green policy as a means to economic growth.

Discussions on the tourism aspects of the OECD’s program will be on the conference’s agenda, along with ways in which tourism can contribute to developing the green tourism product, the ecological effects on tourism, and identifying green business opportunities.

After the conference, participants will travel around the country and visit various tourist sites.

“Israel’s joining the OECD is of great importance in terms of building a positive image for the country,” Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov said on Tuesday.

“The positive image gained will have an effect on the tourist’s choice to visit Israel, and it will attract foreign investors to the country, including, among others, investors in tourism.”
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