The Ministry of Tourism is now putting greater effort into marketing Israel as a conference venue.

Jerusalem old city 88 (photo credit: )
Jerusalem old city 88
(photo credit: )
PUBLIC RELATIONS and advertising agency executives showed up at Herzliya Studios this week to survey Keshet's new Channel Two program line-up for the next season. Keshet has invested more than NIS 100 million in new productions and acquisitions with the object of attracting commercials and marketing campaigns. The highlight was a special episode of Mesudarim where star Assi Cohen in his nouveau riche role buys Keshet from its present owners, and Keshet CEO Avi Nir appears in a cameo role. It is doubtful that this episode will be screened for the general public. FASHION DESIGNER Maya Negri, who produces high-end clothes, has signed up actress and model Ronit Yudkovitch to be her presenter for the next two seasons. The fee has not been disclosed, but given Yudkovitch's status in the industry, it must have been significant. Negri chose Yudkovitch, a mother of three, because she is a splendid actress, radiates charm and self-confidence and represents everything that the Maya Negri label stands for. THE BONITA chain of fashion boutiques is equally enamored with former beauty queen and model Yamit Sol, who has been signed up for a second season as Bonita's presenter, with a focus on the young clientele. ON A visit to your local post office sometime soon, you may see singer Eli Luzon as an actor in one of those skits about postal services and how to behave in the post office that keeps members of the public entertained while waiting their turn to approach the window. Luzon will join comedian Eli Finish and actress Marina Idelman in a skit in which he plays a Scandinavian tourist. The role fits well for Luzon, who has fair skin that becomes instantly ruddy in the sun, blue eyes and the palest shade of platinum blond hair. THE MARKETING of Israel in its early years was done on the basis of the weather. "Follow the sun to Israel" said the advertisements, which often featured an orange in the illustration, because Jaffa oranges were an international symbol by which Israel was recognized. In more recent years, people at the Ministry for Tourism have come to realize the value of international conferences, which bring people to Israel for academic or business reasons or for a global project of universal concern, but in which the program often provides for a day or half a day of touring, or for pre- or post-conference tours which may take several days. Sometimes that tiny taste of Israel whets the appetite for much more, with a first-time visitor who has come for a conference making plans to come for a vacation. Because of this, the Ministry of Tourism is now putting greater effort into marketing Israel as a conference venue. The ministry is planning to increase the number of international conferences from about 80 this year, though the effects of the effort will not be felt until 2010, as most international conferences are planned more than a year in advance. International conferences, regardless of their themes, fall within the purview of the Ministry of Tourism because so many services and facilities which are part of the tourist industry, such as hotels, tour buses, tour guides, catering, etc. are affected. According to Tourism Ministry Director-General Shaul Tzemach, the increase in international conferences in Israel is indicative of Israel's improved image in the world. TENNIS STARS Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich have just signed a one year $100,000 contract to present for Menora Insurance. That's what you call a love match. Shahar Pe'er, though, did better last year with a somewhat larger sum from Apex. CURRENTLY CELEBRATING its 50th anniversary year, the Israel Public Relations Association last week held its annual Roaring Lion awards ceremony, in which public relations companies and public relations departments of organizations and institutions were recipients of prizes for campaigns in various categories. The Roaring Lion is the most prestigious public relations award in Israel. First place in the health care category went to the Hadassah University Medical Center in recognition of the initiative, originality, innovation and orientation in marketing the Israel Conference for Health and Medicine, an annual gathering of key players in the healthcare business. The initial conference, which was held last year, was the brainchild of HMO's Communications team and Professor Avi Rifkind. Their ideas received the blessing of HMO's director-general Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, who instantly understood that this was Hadassah's means of saying "we lead the way." As a result of the excellent marketing campaign, last year's conference received wide media coverage, which helped to bring several topics discussed at the conference to public attention. This year's conference, devoted to Law and Medicine, Interfering in God's Creation and the Ethics of Aesthetic Medicine, will be held in Jerusalem on July 31. HMO Spokeswoman Yael Bossem-Levi, together with HMO Marketing Director Amitai Rotem, were awarded the Roaring Lion. Among the other winners of Roaring Lions was Moshe Debi for the effective campaign waged by his company on behalf of Better Place, the green car project that aims to cut down on carbon emissions by having cars powered on electricity instead of fuel. The campaign was run on behalf of the key investors in the project, Shai Agassi and Idan Ofer.