(photo credit: ARIEL BESOR)
Tourism Minister Uzi Landau extolled on Monday his program to boost tourism in the upcoming year and recover from the revenue lost during the war between Israel and Hamas.
At a Jerusalem reception ahead of Rosh Hashana, Landau praised Israelis for projecting an air of resilience and normalcy during the war, and for sending the message “come to Israel – life is good here.”
Nonetheless, the Tourism Ministry announced earlier this month a plan to compensate for the summer’s decline in foreign visitors by doubling the size of its marketing fund from NIS 5 million to NIS 10m.
After that announcement Tourism Ministry director- general Amir Halevi told Shmuel Marom, the chairman of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, that he hopes the move will “lead to a recovery in the numbers of incoming tourist after Operation Protective Edge.”
Some 182,000 visitors to the country were recorded in August 2014, down 36 percent from August 2013 and the lowest in that month since the Second Lebanon War 2006, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported. For July, the drop was 26% between 2013 and 2014.
The sector was bolstered, however, by a 13% increase in the number of tourists between January and July this year.
The NIS 5m. marketing package follows the report last month of a government committee headed by Halevi, which recommended a number of moves to bolster the ailing tourism industry, including a compensation package for lost revenue.
At that time, the Tourism Ministry estimated that the war had caused NIS 2.1 billion in losses to the sector.
Halevi told the tour operators on Monday that the move to increase the marketing fund does not require the approval of any other government body, unlike the suggested compensation package.