Not so long ago, people around the world believed Israelis ride camels to work. Nowadays, in the globalization era we seem to be living in, you have TV and satellite broadcasts from all over the world, or even Google Earth to tell you exactly how every desolate place on the face of the earth looks like.
The only problem is that for so many people Israel is still in the context of CNN’s “Breaking News: Middle East burning” (so soothing to see absolutely nothing about Israel on their front page these days!). And though Israel is in a sense “where the grass is green and the girls are pretty” and has progressed tremendously and gained very good reputation in the technological and medical fields, the immediate association with Israel is not tranquility and tourism â€“ it is rather hostility and terrorismâ€¦
This week the Minister of Tourism Yitzhak Hertzog is calling for an urgent meeting regarding the crisis in the local tourism market, with an alarming 40% decrease of incoming tourists in 2006, mainly due to the recent war. The plan is to run an intense 3-year campaign (at the cost of NIS 50 million per year), targeting mainly North America and Western Europe.
A lot of money-related issues are involved here, of course: whether the campaign really needs that much money, whether the state of Israel shouldn’t try to first heal itself and only then invite tourists in, and whether the real problem is actually the high costs of flights and accommodationâ€¦
But tell me something, is New York, for example, less expensive or less dangerous? It’s all about reputation. And thinking of the globalization era again, I sometimes just wish that some day people in other countries will go to a store and the seller will be convincing them by saying: “take this product, trust me, it was made in Israel!”
I LOVE TA.