Tourism Ministry makes final push for winter season

Tourism Ministry makes f

The Tourism Ministry recently unleashed a new marketing campaign geared toward portraying Israel as a popular destination for the winter. NIS 55 million has already been poured into the international campaign, which emphasizes Eilat as a leading global winter destination, while also promoting holy and historical sites around the country. Another NIS 60m. will be invested in the campaign in the first few months of 2010 - nearly a quarter of the ministry's NIS 250m. budget for that year. Nearly two million tourists visited Israel from January through September of this year - 18 percent more than the same period in 2007, but 15% less than the same period last year. Despite the drop from 2008, Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov remains confident that the recovery since the second intifada is still continuing. "I am pleased that the recovery in incoming tourism is continuing into the winter season that will open 2010," said Meseznikov in a statement Thursday. "The Israeli winter is an attraction for tourists from many countries around the world, and the Tourism Ministry will increase its marketing efforts in the main countries of North America, Europe and Russia in order to reach our target of an additional one million tourists over the next two years." Given the state of the global economy this year and Operation Cast Lead in January, the ministry recently revised its 2009 forecast to 2.7 million tourists. If the ministry reaches its goals, these numbers will increase to four million in 2011, and five million in 2015.