Tourists at Kotel 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In an effort to revitalize the Tourism Ministry and infuse it with young blood,
the ministry on Sunday launched its first cadets course.
Tourism Ministry cadets took part in the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry
cadets course, after which they received special training in tourism-related
subjects at the Tourism Ministry.
Twelve men and women, speaking half a
dozen languages, started the course after a rigorous recruiting and selection
process, which saw the number of applicants whittled down from 400.
select team, who come from varied backgrounds, will take part in an intense,
three-month course, held in a boarding school environment, where they will learn
the ins and outs of marketing Israel to foreigners. They will then get
managerial positions in the ministry with hopes of eventually being posted
“Most of the people are relatively young (25-35) and new to the
field of tourism,” said Arie Sommer, the course director and until recently the
Tourism Ministry’s emissary in New York, in charge of all marketing activities
to North and South America.
“We have people with all sorts of degrees and
all sorts of interests, among them a former football referee, a fencing
instructor, a filmmaker and an ancient Hebrew scholar,” he said. “All of them
have sacrificed a lot in order to take part in the course and are driven by a
deep-seated desire to enter the public service.
“The participants have
their work cut out for them. In the next three months they will be constantly
busy learning everything they need to know to become skilled tourism
professionals,” Sommer said.
“Among the subjects we cover in the course
are: marketing – both traditional and online – public relations, advertising,
finance, economics, investment promotions, history, Israeli geography and many
more. During their training they will take part in formal classes and seminars
and also hold meetings with tourism professionals, hear lectures from experts
and tour the country to better get to know it.
“The challenges of
marketing Israel abroad are real, especially in light of the geo-political
changes taking place in the world and Israel’s reputation.
representatives need to be at the top of their game in order to meet the targets
set forth by the minister of increasing tourism to five million people by the
year 2015,” said Sommer. “I believe that the team we have possesses the drive
and the skills necessary to achieve it.”
According to Sommer, after the
course, the cadets will be given positions in the ministry in Israel; after two
years, they will be eligible for foreign postings.
“We hired people on
the basis of the second language that they speak: Russian, German, French,
Spanish, Italian and, of course, English. If they prove themselves, they will be
given postings overseas according to ministry requirements and their second
Avital Kotzer-Adari, who recently returned to Israel after a
six-year stay in Italy, said she jumped at the opportunity as soon as she saw
the job posting in the newspaper. Having worked in the Israel Government Tourism
Office in Italy, helping with accounting and marketing, she said she knew it was
the right job for her.
“For me it’s a great opportunity to combine a
career with my love of Israel. I grew up in a Zionist home and the values of
serving the homeland are deeply instilled in me. It won’t be easy to leave my
two-yearold daughter for such a long time, but I think the sacrifice will be
worth it,” Kotzer-Adari said.
“I think everyone here feels the same way.
A majority of the participants have families and not seeing them every day will
be hard on all of us, but from what we can tell from the schedule, sleeping on
the premises is necessary. We all look forward to getting to know each other and
getting started on the course.”