J'lem Tourism Summit draws industry leaders

Featured speakers to include business magnate Sheldon Adelson.

May 28, 2013 03:34
3 minute read.
Nir Barkat points out the J'lem marathon route.

nir barkat_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The second annual Jerusalem Innovative Tourism Summit will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing together world-class leaders in the field, including renowned businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson.

The summit – to be held at the Jerusalem International Convention Center – will feature luminaries of the tourism industry, who will discuss the latest groundbreaking technologies and trends introduced by key players in the tourism world.

“This year, a special emphasis will be placed on urban tourism, as well as innovative technologies in the world of tourism and travel,” the summit’s organizers said in a statement. “Global leaders, academics and experts in the field of hospitality will conduct panels discussing a wide range of issues affecting the tourism industry.”

Notable speakers will include Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Uri Levine, co-founder and president of Waze, world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, founder and CEO of the GetTaxi mobile application Shahar Waiser, and George Tanasijevich, managing director of global development for Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

According to the summit’s organizers, “Israel will be presented as a ‘Start-Up Nation’ and Jerusalem as a leader of technology.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced last month his intention to lead the capital to compete with the world’s most visited cities for tourists.

“Eight years ago, Jerusalem had just a little over two million tourists a year, and today we have four million a year. I want to reach 10 million,” said Barkat at a UJA-Federation Mission of New Yorksponsored event in April.

“When we analyze where we were eight years ago, we can see that we have huge potential to fulfill the vision of reaching the scale of tourists seen by other cities,” Barkat said at the event, noting that New York has 50 million tourists annually and Paris over 60 million, while Jerusalem had only a little over two million, “far from where we should be.”

The summit’s target audience this year includes key figures in the global tourism industry, decision makers, entrepreneurs and investors.

The summit’s statement noted the dramatic influence that the Internet era has had upon the tourism industry.

Organizers said the summit would focus on innovative technologies that offer a “glimpse into the world of application technologies and how they can be used to expand urban tourism.” A special panel will focus on technology in tourism, including tourism-related apps.

Panel topics at the conference include: “Planning Models for Urban Tourism,” “Tourism as a Tool for Urban Economic Development,” “The Smartphone Revolution and the Impact on Users and Managers of Urban Tourism,” “New Transportation Paradigms and the Future of Urban Tourism,” “Follow the Asian Success Story,” “Intangible Heritage and Urban Tourism Development, Sport and Urban Tourism,” and “Hotel Development in Historic Cities.”

The summit will also hold a competition for the “best tourism application,” featuring app submissions from over 20 cutting-edge entrepreneurs.

The first three winners will be given two free passes to the event and the chance to present their technologies at one of the panels, as well as the opportunity to meet and network with all of the key players in the industry.

The event’s organizers added that all participants who submitted their innovations will also be able to present their apps at a special rate at the exhibition’s “start-up booths.”

Adelson, perhaps the biggest draw at the two-day event, will speak on Tuesday morning.

The business magnate has a storied career spanning more than six decades that includes the creation of over 50 different companies, including the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and the COMDEX tradeshow for the computer industry.

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation has become the leading global developer of destination properties that feature premium accommodations, world-class gaming and entertainment, convention and exhibition facilities, celebrity-chef restaurants and many other amenities.

“As the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Adelson’s penchant for challenging and changing the status quo has led the company to overwhelming success in every location in which it operates,” organizers said.

“In Las Vegas he is widely credited for helping transform the city from a gamingcentric regional location into the leading convention and exhibition city in the United States.”

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