In a meeting room at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, Italian Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia stood gazing out the wall-sized window overlooking the beach where Israeli families took advantage of the first hints of spring weather, doubtless reminded of his own country’s beautiful seascapes, which could soon host these same families.
Italy and Israel are positioning themselves to become closer partners in tourism, following a meeting between Garavaglia and Israel’s Tourism Minister, Yoel Razvozov. The Italian minister visited Israel in order to attend the IMTM Tourism Exhibition in Tel Aviv, and met with Razvozov in order to discuss the future potential of tourism between the two countries.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Garavaglia expressed the importance of reopening tourism as the COVID-19 pandemic (theoretically) winds down. “Israel and Italy are two particular nations that strongly attract tourism. What is happening right now is that they are reopening their tourism very suddenly; the flow of tourism is now very much increased,” he said. “We think it’s very important, both incoming and outgoing tourism. Airplanes need to be full, both on the way there and on the way back, so everything we manage to do to develop big changes, for us, is most welcome.”
A primary venture being developed by Italy’s tourism ministry is the promotion of youth tourism to Italy. “We’re aiming to increase tourism by young people. This is particularly relevant for Israel, which is a very young nation,” explained Garavaglia. “We’re trying to develop strategic campaigns to let the young public understand all the possibilities that Italy has to offer to youths.”
He expressed that in the near future, Italy could become a travel destination for soldiers finishing their army service, alongside other popular destinations such as Thailand and India.
Garavaglia also drew attention to upcoming tourism events in Israel which will feature Israeli participation, including the 6th UN World Tourism Organization’s conference on wine tourism in Alba this September, in which the minister will guide an Israeli delegation; and the 1st Global Youth Tourism Summit in Sorrento this June, featuring young delegations from around the world, including Israel. These delegations will discuss the development of youth tourism.
Israel also stands to benefit Italy in regards to its technological know-how. “We are very interested in Israel’s capability to improve and develop Italy’s digital hub,” said Garavaglia. “Israel’s innovative capabilities are huge, so the possibility [for Italy] to utilize those capabilities in the entire tourism sector is very valuable. Also, in the sense that tourism is a traditional sector, there’s much room to apply new technology in the sector.”
Regarding mutual cooperation between Italy and Israel, Garavaglia referred to the two nations’ cultural cooperation agreement, which is to be renewed soon. “In this new agreement, Israel can provide a new, concrete application of the nations’ cooperation.”