The government has allocated NIS 35 million to re-establish Israel's position on the global tourism map after the flow of foreign visitors to the country slowed to a trickle with the outbreak of violence in the North in July.
"After we took steps to help the [tourism] sector in the North, we are entering a process of crisis management in order to minimize the damage done to the industry," Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog said Wednesday after reaching an agreement over the budget with Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson the day before.
The Tourism Ministry is seeking a total NIS 100m. from the 2006 for its broader campaign.
The allocation of funds follows a call this week from the Israel Hotels Association to embark immediately on a marketing campaign to resurrect the flow of foreign tourists to the country. The IHA criticized the government for stalling on passing the budget, saying the campaign should have started two weeks ago - the day after the cease-fire went into effect.
While the government focused on encouraging the local market to head up North in its initial "day-after" campaign, the IHA said it was a mistake to ignore the international market in those initial stages.
With the first phase budget now confirmed, the Tourism Ministry said its special advertising abroad would start in September focusing on strategic markets in North America and Europe, using television, radio, print media and the Internet to get its message across.