'Despite Mideast chaos, it is still safe to visit Israel'

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov unveils NIS 45m. campaign to ensure tourists don't get scared from coming to Israel.

Tourism 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tourism 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With Libya in the throes of chaos and bloodletting, and post-revolution Egypt gripped by uncertainty, Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov on Wednesday unveiled a NIS 45 million advertising campaign to meant to ensure that potential tourists don’t get scared away from visiting Israel despite the turmoil in the region.
The campaign also aims to encourage tourists who may have otherwise traveled to Egypt, Tunisia, or elsewhere to try Israel instead.
Meseznikov said Wednesday “given the geo-political situation and the blow to the region’s image, the Tourism Ministry is next week launching a series of campaigns worth NIS 45m. in target countries around the world in order to differentiate Israel’s image from the other countries in the region and strengthen it as a safe, accessible and attractive tourism destination.”
Figures released Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that about 220,000 tourists visited Israel in February, a decline of 2 percent over the same period in 2010.
At the same time, the number of tourists staying more than one night increased by 10% from February 2010. Cruise tourism also climbed 2% over last February.
The statistics also reveal that as a result of the turmoil in Egypt, there was an 83% drop in tourists entering Israel from across the border with Egypt.
Despite the 2% drop in February, 466,000 tourists visited Israel in the two-month period of January and February, representing altogether a 7% more increase over the year previous.
Meseznikov’s statement was issued as the minister opened the Israeli stand at the ITB in Berlin, the world’s largest tourism fair.
According to the Tourism Ministry, the campaign will include commercials aired in target countries such as the US, Russia, Germany, UK and Scandinavia.
“The regional crisis represents a challenge and an opportunity for tourism to Israel,” Meseznikov said. “We will work through all the marketing channels with a variety of activities in order to position Israel as an alternative destination for those tourists who, until now, would take their vacations in other countries in the region.
“The Tourism Ministry representatives, working in 17 offices around the world, will expand their activities with local tourism industry representatives to increase traffic to Israel. Activities that have already taken place over the last few weeks in Russia and Ukraine have proven that Israel is seen as an alternative for tourists wishing to travel to the Middle East region,” he said.