Tel Aviv aims to build upon tourism success of 2009

‘Experience/adventure’ tours included in plan to attract 400,000 more tourists this year.

tel aviv sea 311 (photo credit: AP)
tel aviv sea 311
(photo credit: AP)
During the upcoming year in Tel Aviv, officials from the Tel Aviv Tourism Association are hoping that the temperatures are not the only thing that will rise in the beach city. 
In an effort to increase a global warming in tourism to Tel Aviv, through hearts and minds rather than a rising barometer, the association is aiming to create a new image of Tel Aviv for international tourists in 2010.
The tourism association unveiled at a press conference in Tel Aviv last Sunday a comprehensive and expanded plan of programs aimed to attract even more than the two million tourists who arrived in 2009.
The association has a strategic plan to bring more than 400,000 more tourists in 2010 by offering a variety of travel packages and tours for various demographics.
According to the CEO of the Tel Aviv Tourism Association, Etti Gargir, in order to strengthen a positive image of Tel Aviv, “the goal of the work plan is to strengthen the positive image of Tel Aviv worldwide as a leading tourism site, and as a result, bring an increase of 20 percent in the number of tourists arriving to the city.” 
As part of the plan, the tourism association will be featuring 36 different “experience/adventure” tours matched to all ages and various lifestyles.  All of the tours will be presented free – and in English. 
The variety of tours has proven to be a success, as the association announced a 33 percent increase of tourists participating in the tours last year, as compared to 2007.  Among the new tours being offered in Tel Aviv are excursions targeting singles, fans of Arik Einstein songs and food connoisseurs, with each tour striving to highlight and present an eclectic and diverse face of the city.
The official beginning of the tourist season is April 16 and in conjunction with the kickoff, officials said there will be an increase in tours, beach sports and music events held along the beach front of the Mediterranean Sea. 
Tourists will be able to acquire information from mobile tourist guides driving along the beach boardwalk on Segways.  They will also be able to use IPhones to access an application discover the city’s tours, museums, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and bars, in addition to an extensive database of tourist information presented in both Hebrew and English on the association’s upgraded Web site.
The association is expecting a hike in tourism due to the recent introduction of an open-skies policy, which eased restrictions on foreign airlines wishing to present flights to Israel and allow for bigger European airlines to bring more tourists than ever before. 
The lack of such an agreement is thought to have hindered European tourists to Israel, especially those from Germany, France and the UK.
The open skies agreement, signed in 2009, could see the increase of Lufthansa flights from Germany rising from 18 to 30 a week, and its subsidiaries Swiss Air and Austrian Airlines also expected to step up the frequency of their flights to Israel.