THE GOVERNMENT APPROVES SIGNING OF OPEN SKIES AGREEMENT
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: “ The cabinet made the right decision for the citizens of Israel, for the Israeli economy and the tourism industry in Israel. I wish to congratulate and strengthen the people in the Tourism Ministry, headed by the Director-General Noaz Bar-Nir for their bold lead in this process. Within a short space of time, we will begin to see a strong flow of incoming tourism, an increase of revenue for the state coffers and the tourism industry will create many new jobs in cities and the periphery.”
The cabinet today, 21.4.13, approved the signing of the Open Skies agreement with the European Union, that was initialed in 2012. Tourism Ministry Director-General Noaz Bar-Nir, Head of the Marketing Administration Oren Drori and his deputy Pini Shani, who have been involved in the process over the last few years, believe that approval of the signing instills optimism in the tourism industry, sends a positive sign to investors who expect vacation prices to fall and incoming tourism to rise by hundreds of thousands of new tourists.
According to data from the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations, the agreement will lead to an increase of 250,000 tourists from Europe during the first year of its operation. This means the creation of nearly 10,000 new jobs, a significant majority of them in the periphery.
This decision, which was initiated during the time when Eli Cohen served as Tourism Ministry Director-General in 2006, has been moved forward against a challenging time for the tourism industry, when incoming tourism has decreased on previous years. This mainly as a result of the effects of Operation Pillar of Defense and the lack of a government budget that led to a reduction in investment in marketing Israel overseas.
It should be noted that, alongside the increased competition, the ministry position is that the government must find a way to ensure the confidence of the Israeli airline industry within the framework of the new agreement.