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The Tourism Ministry launched its new look Web site "goisrael.com" Tuesday as the first stage of its strategy to use the Internet as a vehicle to market tourism to Israel more effectively.
"This is a marketing platform that will help us get to the heart of tourism's potential and we expect it will make a meaningful contribution to increasing the number of tourists in Israel," Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog said.
The project saw four different Web sites go live on Tuesday, two in English for the US and UK markets, respectively, one in Russian and one in Hebrew. The ministry said it plans to make the new format available in German, French, Spanish, Swedish and other languages in the near future.
The site presents visitors with new options not available in previous government Web sites, including information on what do and where to stay while in the country. The Russian site also provides assistance in applying for visas via the Internet, significantly cutting the bureaucratic process required for visas.
The ministry has identified the Internet as a key tool for marketing Israel and has run campaigns on Yahoo to this effect. It also was instrumental in influencing international travel website expedia.com to expand its Israel section.