Rani Rahav to sell Turkey to Israelis

”We have to make a clear distinction between tourism and politics,” says PR giant.

rani rahav pr AJ 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
rani rahav pr AJ 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In an effort to promote Israeli tourism to Turkey at a time when the two countries are experiencing political tension, the Turkish tourism board on Monday hired Israeli public relations giant Rani Rahav to help convince Israelis that Turkey is still an attractive travel destination.
Rahav’s company, Rani Rahav Communications and Public Relations Ltd., won the bid to run communications of the Turkish tourism board, while Inbar Merhav Shaked was put in charge of the organization’s Israeli advertising.
“It is a great challenge to explain to my friends, the residents of Israel, that friendships shouldn’t be lost because of politics,” said Rahav.
“Tourism between two countries has nothing to do with politics. We have to make a clear distinction between tourism and politics, between human beings and politics.
“At the end of the day, tourism wins, and Turkey loves the Israeli tourist. It is important for everyone to keep the ties of friendship between the peoples strong,” he said.
In taking on the role, Rahav replaced former spokesman Danny Zimet.
Zimet, who is also the deputy chairman of the Israel-Turkey Business Council, said he found out about the decision from a press release issued by Rahav.
According to reports from the ITBC, 44 percent fewer Israelis traveled to Turkey in 2009 than in 2008. The decisive factor in the 2009 drop was the decision by the major labor unions to ban Turkey as a destination for organized vacations, following negative statements about Israel made by the Turkish prime minister after Operation Cast Lead.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post at the International Mediterranean Tourism Market in February, Inanc Ozcakmak, Turkey’s tourism attaché to Israel, said that despite the political tensions between the two countries, he was optimistic about Israeli tourism to Turkey in 2010.
“Nearly 300,000 Israelis visited Turkey in 2009 and I hope there will be the same or more this year,” said Ozcakmak.
“There was not a single incident that happened to the Israelis who traveled to Turkey. Turkey was, is and will remain safe for Israeli tourists,” he added.
He said that Turkey had a lot to offer the Israeli tourist, pointing out the country’s proximity, the favorable weather, the foods that Israelis are fond of and the relatively low prices.
Rahav’s company is one of the biggest and most prestigious in thecountry. Among its 120 clients are companies like El Al, the Straussgroup, Bank Hapoalim and IDB. Rahav himself is the honorary consul toIsrael for the Republic of the Marshall Islands, a nation made up ofsmall islands and atolls in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.
On Wednesday Rahav will unveil the Turkish marketing campaign for 2010.