Mayor Moshe Lion: No one should contest Jerusalem

“Israel is the capital of the Jewish nation,” he said, “and no one will contest this.” Jerusalem's tourism director said we need to make the city more attractive for both visitors and residents.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion welcomed attendees to the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem, noting the importance of the conference in promoting open conversation and dialog between ambassadors, ministers, members of Knesset and other dignitaries.
Lion said that many new changes are underway under his leadership and urged more countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem. “Israel is the capital of the Jewish nation,” said Lion, “and no one will contest this.”
Ilanit Melchior, director of tourism for the Jerusalem Authority, spoke next about the need to balance tourism and sustainability to make Jerusalem more attractive for both visitors and residents. Tourism is rapidly growing in the capital and is a major contributor to the city’s economy. But tourism needs to be conducted in a responsible way that minimizes negative social, economic and environmental impacts.
Responsible and sustainable tourism, Melchior explained, is a form of tourism that can be consumed in a more responsible way. Sustainable tourism supports and employs member of the local economy, reduces overhead and costs, and protects the environment. ‘Overtourism,’ she explained, occurs when local residents feel that their quality of life is damaged by the tourists who are arriving to their city.
Major European cities, said Melchior, are attempting to curb this phenomenon, and the city of Jerusalem is working hard to make the Old City and the holy sites accessible to people with disabilities. It is important to not only bring more tourists to Jerusalem, but to balance the increase in their numbers with responsible tourism, such that others will be able to enjoy the city for generations to come.
“If we can balance tourism in such a way that the local community will work together,” said Melchior, “use green energy, and protect the environment, then we can balance tourism and make it a better product.”