The Finance Ministry has approved a total NIS 165 million allocation for this year's campaign to bring more foreign tourists to Israel, an increase of NIS 65m. from 2006 levels, though the budget was still short of the $50m. marketing plan the industry has called for since last summer's war in Lebanon .Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog said the increase in budget was a breakthrough towards achieving the $50m. annual marketing budget recommended in a recent report by consultant firm Ernst & Young to keep Israel prominent as an attractive tourist destination.
The Israel Hotels Association, meanwhile, called the increase an important first step for the country's advertising budget but said it still was not enough.
"We need to go out immediately on an international image campaign to counter the damage done to tourism caused by [negative images] in the international media," said Eli Gonen, president of the IHA.