The Tourism Ministry is embarking on a NIS 6 million campaign in France to attract half a million tourists to Israel in 2012 in response to moderate growth in the number of French tourists coming to visit the country this year. The campaign will include broadcasts at French movie theaters as well as ads in the print media, the electronic media and in the professional media. "The tourism ministry highly prioritizes the marketing efforts of Israel to the France audience. We aim at half a million of French tourists by 2012. The marketing will display Israel as a desired tourist destination that offers an enriching multi-cultural experience," said Shaul Tzemach, director-general of the Tourism Ministry. The decision to market Israel strongly specifically in France was made following moderate growth in the number of French tourists that arrived in Israel during part of 2007 and in particular in the first quarter of 2008. Since the beginning of the year, 47,000 French tourists arrived in Israel, representing a moderate 4 percent increase over the first quarter of 2007. In comparison in the January to March period in 2008 a sharper increase was reported in the growth rate of tourists that arrived to Israel from major European countries. In the first three months of the year the number of Italian tourists rose 66% to 20,000, the number of tourists from Spain increased 92% to 12,700. During the same period, the number of tourists from Germany leaped 62% to 35,300 from 21,700 in the first quarter of 2007. According to the Tourism Ministry, France until now has been representing one of the European countries with the highest numbers of tourists visit Israel, more than England, Germany, Italy and Spain. Therefore the recent slowdown in the growth rate to only around 4% raised concerns in the local tourism industry. The new campaign is directed at the general French audience while the Tourism Ministry said it hoped that the campaign would also boost the number of French Jewish tourists. About 55% of the French Jewish community visit Israel annually. The first part of the campaign at a budget of NIS 3m. will start within a few days and will last for six weeks, and the second part will start in October, at the same cost. The campaign is due to replace the display windows' campaign that included the marketing of Israel on 300 display windows of the travel agency of Carlson Wagonlit.