Tourism Ministry reaps fruit of online marketing

Israel gets to host top Spanish bloggers at Madrid tourism trade fair.

Spanish Tourism Ministry 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Spanish Tourism Ministry 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel won the opportunity to host 20 of the leading tourism bloggers in Spain during the opening day of FITUR, the largest tourism trade fair for the Spanish speaking and Latin American market, which opened Wednesday, in Madrid.
Dozens of countries competed to host the bloggers, who will moderate a discussion taking place at the Israeli stand about the effectiveness of bloggers in encouraging tourism.
The five-day FITUR trade fair is expected to attract more than 10,000 exhibitors from 170 countries and about 220,000 visitors. The fair was opened officially by the king and queen of Spain, who met with tourism officials from around the world, including Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov.
Israeli airlines, hotels and travel agents are among the 33 Israeli tourism operators represented in the Israeli exhibit.
The stand will also feature performances by Balbalu Street Theater Group and Ahava products will be distributed to visitors at the Dead Sea stand.
Tourism Ministry Director- General Noaz Bar-Nir and other ministry representatives will hold meetings with major travel agents, airlines and leading tour operators, as well as with the media, in order to encourage tourism to Israel and increase cooperation between countries. Bar-Nir noted that “the Tourism Ministry target for 2011 is to increase tourism from Spain to about 70,000 tourists, from 62,000 in 2010.”
Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry announced on Wednesday that more than 6 million virtual tourists visited the Tourism Ministry’s websites during 2010, a 41 percent growth from 2009.
According to information provided by the Information Systems Department of the Tourism Ministry, the United States provided the largest number of entries into the site – over 1,124,000 – followed by Russia with 398,000, Germany at 317,000 and France with 253,000.
People from Israel’s neighboring countries also expressed interest in the ministry’s website including 3,981 entries from Iran, 2,182 from Kuwait, 1,293 from Pakistan and 176 from Iraq.
Israelis account for over 9% of the entries to the website.
Four months ago, the Tourism Ministry launched an iPhone application that has been downloaded by more than 22,000 people from around the world.
The Tourism Ministry website, which provides information to potential visitors from all over the world, represents an important marketing arm for the ministry. The site, in all its different formats, exposes millions of people from around the world to the various visiting options offered by Israel.
“Significant technological upgrades will be introduced into the website in the coming year and the volume of online and classic marketing activity will also increase significantly,” Meseznikov said.