Tourism Ministry promotes ‘staycations’

Campaign takes advantage of Turkey boycott.

Illetes beach (photo credit:  Mike Benn)
Illetes beach
(photo credit: Mike Benn)
Seeking to take advantage of Israeli tourists’ boycott of Turkey, the Tourism Ministry announced Wednesday that it was launching a NIS 1 million advertising campaign to promote local vacations.
The campaign, running under the slogan “Now more than ever, vacation in Israel,” will include advertising on radio stations and billboards, encouraging Israelis to choose domestic destinations over those abroad, and informing the public of the range of tourism options available here over the summer.
The advertising will refer people to the ministry’s Web site, where they will find information about travel, leisure and events, and links to other sources of information.
“Israel is a tourism destination for tourists from all over the world, who chose to visit over the summer and enjoy the wide range of events, attractions and tourism sites, and should also be a preferred destination for as many Israelis as possible,” said Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov.
“Taking advantage of window of opportunity that has presented itself with the cancellation of vacations to Turkey and the battle over the heart of the Israeli tourist, the Tourism Ministry and the entire tourism industry is enlisting to the task of leading Israelis to choose, now more than ever, a vacation in Israel.”
According to a Tourism Ministryordered survey conducted by Geocartography research group, 52% of the public went on vacation during the last year. Of them, 35% vacationed solely in Israel.
The survey, which was conducted among a representative sample of 800 adults, found that 57% of the respondents went on vacation to rest, 22% went on active vacations and 11% choose rural vacations.
The survey found that more than a third of the public, 35%, visited Eilat, 36% visited the North and 15% went to the Dead Sea. A majority of the vacationers spent two to three nights on vacation and 90% expressed a high degree of satisfaction from their last Israeli vacation.
Joseph Fischer, executive vice president of Clal Tourism Holdings, anticipated that Israeli hotels would enjoy their best summer in years.
“This summer’s trend is local vacations in Israel and it is already becoming difficult to find vacancies in Eilat for July and August,” he said.
Fischer said he identified a range of reasons for an apparent downturn in demand for summer vacations, and not only to Turkey, a trend that was reflected in low May and June holiday bookings.
“First of all, the effect of the flotilla outcome has brought about a nearly complete halt to what was once the most popular vacation, the all-inclusive packages in Antalya,” said Fischer.
He explained that Israelis have not, as of yet, rushed to adopt the offered alternatives.
“The psychological element is also important. Every day the media reports on anti-Israel rallies, consumer boycotts and negative world opinion.
These reports have a mounting effect on people’s psyche and negatively effect the public’s confidence,” said Fischer.
The World Cup tournament, which runs until mid-July, is also having an effect, claimed Fischer.
“The World Cup is a social event and Israelis are enthusiastic viewers.
The thought of having to baby-sit the kids while on a vacation abroad, compared to watching the games with friends at home or at a bar, leaves many Israelis in Israel.”
Fischer said that he anticipates a rise in demand in the second half of July, August and September, but warned that “the bottleneck” will cause problems and delays at the airport, and will probably lead to higher prices as tour operators try to make up lost profits.