Tourism sector told to improve service, transparency

The Israeli travel industry needs to improve its level of service, the Public Committee on the Product and Service of Tourism told the Tourism Ministry on Tuesday. After spending a year compiling more than 2,000 pages of testimonies and surveys, the committee presented the ministry with a report on improvements that need to be made, including uniform street signs and spellings, higher standards at hotels and full transparency of service. "We have accomplished our mission and are going back home," said Dr. Israel Peleg, chairman of the public committee. "[The ministry] will decide what their priorities are and when to implement any of those recommendations." Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, a corporate governance consultant who served on the committee, said the panel reached two main conclusions. First, letting clients know where they would be located and what service they would receive was crucial, Nahmias-Verbin said, adding that the Hotel Association had already taken upon itself to improve in this area. "The other issue where the government could have a lot of impact is in renovating the hotels and putting them in a position worthy of hosting" foreign tourists," she said. But we also have to remember that there is a lot of internal tourism in Israel, she added. Shaul Tzemach, the Tourism Ministry's director-general, said the report had put service quality on the ministry's agenda, and that officials would study the document and work to make improvements in the field, and not just on paper.