When tens of thousands of tourists descend on Tel Aviv for the Eurovision in May, the city wants to ensure they have a safe, enjoyable time.
Therefore on Sunday, the Tel Aviv Municipality issued a call for volunteers who speak English and other foreign languages to sign up for shifts to aid tourists visiting for the competition. The municipality said it is looking for "volunteers to help with providing information services, assistance and guidance, and creating a great experience in the non-stop city." The city said that volunteers must be over age 17, must commit to two shifts of five hours each and "must love Tel Aviv, be passionate about helping tourists and be ready to give bar and restaurant recommendations, and know the best spots in the city for taking selfies." The volunteers will be receiving a currently undefined "bonus" for their assistance.
"All the polls we do show that one of our greatest assets is that we're friendly, warm and welcoming," said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. "This is the asset we want to leverage to give the thousands of tourists who will fill up this city the best possible Eurovision experience."
While the city is gearing up to host thousands of Eurovision devotees, those fans are still waiting for the most important news: Ticket sales. While the KAN public broadcaster has been promising news on ticket sales for months now, there is still no date for the beginning of sales and no final figures on how many seats will be available for each live show.
Tickets for the 2018 Eurovision in Lisbon went on sale beginning in November 2017. Tickets for the 2017 competition in Kiev were made available to the public in mid-February 2017. But on Sunday, a spokeswoman for KAN said there was still no official date, but that she expected it to be announced in the next two weeks. In early January, KAN said ticket sales would open by the end of that month, but that never materialized.
Several Hebrew media reports have indicated that the delays are at least partially attributed to the indecision on the number of seats available for the shows at Expo Tel Aviv. Due to the large stage size demanded by the production, there will likely be less than 8,000 seats available for each live show, a low figure for the Eurovision. The KAN spokeswoman said Sunday that the final number of seats has yet to be decided, and everything will be announced together at a later date.
KAN is expected to offer ticket sales to the three live shows - two semi-finals and the grand finale - as well as the dress rehearsals for each of the shows.
While there are no tickets available yet, the Tel Aviv Municipality is marching full steam ahead with its preparations. Last week, it unveiled a "Eurovision bus" which will operate during the week of the competition in May. The bus is expected to give tours of the city to the thousands of visitors descending on Tel Aviv in May.
Meanwhile, KAN has another big decision on its plate in the coming weeks.
Israel finally picked its contestant for this year's Eurovision - Kobi Marimi - last week. Now KAN must select a song for Marimi to perform at the grand finale of the competition. The deadline for songwriters to submit their original works for contention was Sunday afternoon, and now the public broadcaster must pick the song it thinks will give Israel the best shot at winning the title once again this year. Marimi's song is expected to be revealed to the public on March 10.