*The largest Eurovision Village ever *Free public transportation on Shabbat *Special permits for bars and restaurants to enhance nightlife *Extensive city decorations *A new Tel Aviv tourism website *Activities at community centers and schools *Green Eurovision
In one month, Tel Aviv will host the 64th Eurovision Song Contest, the second most-watched live TV program in the world and the cultural event with the highest ratings and largest international coverage to ever take place in Israel.
Over the last few years, the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo has invested vast resources in developing its facilities and infrastructure in order to become a prime destination for major international conferences and events. These efforts included the recent establishment of the Tel Aviv International Convention Bureau as well as the building of the new pavilion at EXPO Tel Aviv which will host the Eurovision Final and Semifinals.
More specifically in the past months, since Tel Aviv won the bid to host the Eurovision, the Municipality has been working hard in order to create a perfect experience for tourists; from improving the transportation infrastructure to the organization of workshops for hundreds of service providers such as taxi drivers, lifeguards and much more.
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo: "Eurovision is an opportunity for incredible global exposure. In one month, Tel Aviv will welcome thousands of tourists; will host one-thousand and five hundred journalists; and will be seen by tens of millions of viewers. Netta, in her recent song, talked about two moods: BASSA and SABABA: a bad mood and a good mood. Unlike the song, Tel Aviv has only one mood. We promise, that whomever comes to Tel Aviv in May, will experience one thing: SABABA, SABABA, and more SABABA."
THE LARGEST EUROVISION VILLAGE EVER
The highlight of the Eurovision events in Tel Aviv will be the largest Eurovision Village in the world, overlooking the Mediterranean coastline at Charles Clore Park. The Eurovision Village will be open to the public from May 12-18 from the afternoon until the evening and will showcase performances by Israeli artists such as Static and Ben El, Stephane Legar, and former Eurovision superstars such as Dana International and Izhar Cohen. In addition, the Semi-finals and the Final will be projected on giant screens and visitors will be able to enjoy the sea breeze while sitting at a giant bar overlooking the sea, surrounded by remarkable light compositions, created by the official lighting partner OSRAM.
The annual Tel Aviv Eat Festival will also be happening alongside the Eurovision Village (12-18 May) in a separate and adjacent compound. Visitors will be able to taste some of the most delicious dishes by Tel Aviv’s celebrated chefs. Participating restaurants include Manta Ray, Onza, Messa, The Blue Rooster, and many others.
TEL AVIV WHITE NIGHT
The Tel Aviv White Night will take place on May 16, on the night of the 2nd Semi Final. During the White Night, as the sun goes down, Telavivians and tourists are invited to wander through the many events and exhibitions taking place around the city - from the official Eurovision Village through cultural centers, museums, bars, open spaces, beaches and much more, until the sun rises and shines over the White City. Tel Aviv White Night is one of the biggest events of the year, and the Eurovision week is the ideal time for these celebrations. The events and performances are open to the public, most of them free of charge.
EXPO TEL AVIV
Israel's largest and most technologically-advanced convention center has undergone an 8 million NIS investment over the past few months in order to adhere to the highest standards that the Eurovision demands. Projects included creating a new piazza; hundreds of new signs in English, Hebrew and Arabic; installing hundreds of energy-efficient lighting devices, and more. Currently, over 1500 workers from Israel and from abroad are working around the clock to prepare EXPO to its largest show yet.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO…EXPO TEL AVIV
The Eurovision Song Contest is a huge opportunity for the city to improve its infrastructure for international tourists visiting the city.
During the weekend, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality will offer free shuttles to Expo Tel Aviv. Two shuttles will pick up ticket holders at the Carmelit Terminal and take them to the Expo along two main routes. At the end of the show, buses will be waiting for ticket holders and will bring them back to their hotels. The information regarding the shuttles will be available in English at all stations and on board all buses.
The railway system will be reinforced and will let visitors get off at the Tel Aviv University station near the Expo. In addition, tourist information centers will be placed 24/7 at Ben Gurion International Airport and at Savidor Central Train Station. "Share-Route" taxis (lines 4 and 5) will allow fast and cheap rides and information regarding regular taxis will be more accessible for international tourists.
CITY BRANDING AND TOURIST EXPERIENCE
In recent months, the Municipality has been working hard in order to create a perfect experience for tourists:
- A new public transportation map will be distributed
- Information signs in English will be placed on the 500 main bus stops in the city.
- A tourist information desk will operate in the arrival hall at Ben Gurion International Airport 24/7.
- Hundreds of volunteers were recruited to assist tourists during the Eurovision week.
- A free pocket guide for tourists and a brand new website will include all the info tourists may need.
- Thousands of flowers were planted in the colors of the Eurovision logo around the city.
- 15 pop-up information booths will be spread across strategic spots in the city.
- The lifeguard tower located near the Eurovision Village will be customized especially for the Eurovision.
A GREEN CELEBRATION
The Eurovision Song Contest is a fantastic opportunity to set new green standards and make events in Tel Aviv more ecological. The Municipality has formulated guidelines for the main Eurovision areas concerning waste reduction, efficient energy use, and eco-friendly activities.
During the "Tel Aviv Eat" Festival, the Municipality will encourage chefs to produce "green" dishes, especially vegetarian and vegan, based on local and fresh ingredients and leftovers will be donated to “Leket Israel” – a local charity that specializes in food rescue.
A SEA OF POSSIBILITIES
Throughout the Eurovision week, the beaches will be animated with music events, sporting activities and live screenings of the Eurovision shows. Old Jaffa will host an interactive orchestra installation and in Jaffa Port, a huge radio will play Eurovision classics from previous years. Tel Aviv Port will host a huge Shabbat service, a Dana International exhibition, a vinyl record library and a closing musical show with Anne-Marie David, Loreen and Carola - three Eurovision legends. Amiad Center at Jaffa Flea Market will open DiverCity – an exhibition inspired by Eurovision songs.
WELCOME TO THE NONSTOP CITY
The Municipality has decided to implement a number of temporary policies for business owners and visitors so that they can extend their hours of work and continue to entertain guests even during the late hours of the night.
Bars and restaurants will be allowed to set up large screens to open areas and broadcast the shows. In addition, they will be able to play music until midnight. Together with business owners in the city, The Municipality is promoting the "Tel Aviv for 10 Shekels" campaign – during which visitors will be able to purchase drinks and food for only ten shekels throughout businesses around the city.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS
The Municipality will host the "Kehilavision" ("Eurovision in the Community"): The city’s community centers will each represent a different participating country and will organize a variety of events that will present the country and its culture.
LET US SHOW YOU TEL AVIV
The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality has recruited hundreds of volunteers who will be placed all over the city. The team of volunteers will provide guidance, information and a friendly welcome to tourists and will represent the best that Tel Aviv has to offer
Photos Silvia G. Golan