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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Tourists love Israel's historical sites - and would perhaps enjoy them even more if not for the taxi drivers who take them there. This, according to a recent poll which shows tourists are happy with much of what Israel has to offer, but dissatisfied with the value they receive for their money.
The poll, carried out on behalf of the Tourism Ministry by the GeoCartographia Research Institute between January and June of last year, was published ahead of the 14th International Mediterranean Tourism Market convention (IMTM) due to take place Wednesday at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds.
In the poll, tourists ranked several factors of their stay on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. The highest evaluation went to Israeli tour guides and to the state's archeology sites, both of which earned a score of 4.5. The surveyed tourists found the personal security in Israel satisfying (4.3) and enjoyed the country's nature and parks (4.2) as well as its sea and beaches (4.1). Even the passport control garnered a respectable score (4.1), as did the restaurants (4.07) and the road system (4.0).
Not all was rosy, however. Accommodation facilities and night life scored only 3.9 points in the poll, and the country's overall cleanliness received a grade of 3.7. The tourists scored Israel only a 3.6 on value for their money. The lowest score went to Israel's taxi drivers, who received a score of 3.4.
"Improving tourists' experience and strengthening the feeling that their money was wisely spent is critical when pursuing the goal of doubling the number of tourists to Israel by 2012," Tourism Ministry Director-General Shaul Tzemach said. "The Israeli tourism industry carries a significant economic potential for creating more job opportunities and for the state's treasury," he added.
Tzemach is scheduled to open the Quality in Service convention on Wednesday at the IMTM, where the subject will be declared a national mission. Service in flights, hotels, roads' sign-posting, parking services, and the level of available tourist information will all be addressed. In addition, a national plan for improving the level of service will be inaugurated in order to meet the Tourism Ministry's goal of attracting 5 million tourists annually.
This year's IMTM hosts more than 30 countries and 200 tourist attractions in Israel and abroad. The public is invited to visit the exhibition, starting from 3 p.m.
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