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The Taiwan Tourism Bureau sponsored a promotional event at the Crowne Plaza City Center Hotel on July 25, attended by Israeli travel journalists and bloggers. Local and overseas representatives of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, as well as public relations professionals representing the Asian nation, gave presentations and showed promotional videos highlighting the many attractions of the island nation.




According to remarks made by Dr. Trust H.J. Lin, Director of the Singapore office of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, incoming foreign tourism to Taiwan more than tripled in the decade between the years 2006 and 2016. Moreover, tourism to Taiwan from Israel, in particular, grew by 10% in recent years, and it is the goal of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau to maintain this double-digit growth in forthcoming years.



Also addressing the attendees were Ambassador Paul K. Chang, the local representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv, and Meital Margulis-Lin, founder and CEO of Taiwanit, a  Consulting company that consults to Israelis leisure and business visitors to Taiwan.




The evening concluded with a drawing for prizes donated by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau and visiting Taiwanese incoming tour operators, as well as a buffet supper featuring Chinese dumplings and organic tea from Taiwan.

 Website: https://www.taiwan.org.il/


Photos by Silvia Golan






New services by The Jerusalem Development Authority including a new city pass that offers a bus service from the airport to Jerusalem, free inner-city public transportation and discounts at the city's attractions and museums; the JDA placed Colorful information trucks around the city that also offer cell phone recharging and refreshments


The Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) launches a series of services to make the city more accessible and convenient for tourists. The goal of the new services, which will be available for tourists arriving in the Israeli Capital this summer, is to put Jerusalem in line with other major cities around the world like London, Paris, New York, and others. The JDA puts extra effort into promoting Jerusalem as the next hot destination for tourists, from Europe and lately even started to focus also on the Chinese market.  JDA in cooperation with OTIPASS launched the - "Jerusalem City Pass" a ticket purchased before the arrival in Israel, makes landing in Israel easier and more welcoming. The pass is valid for a whole week and may be used to save the time spent on small payments and standing in lines, as well as offering discounts for main attractions in the city. Employees in uniform at the "Itraveljerusalem" stand will greet the tourists arriving in Israel at the airport. They will validate the ticket and supply any information required. 



The "Jerusalem City Pass" includes a free bus service from the airport to Jerusalem. The attendants in the "Itraveljerusalem" stand will direct the tourists interested in arriving in Jerusalem to a branded bus with free Wi-Fi that travels directly to Jerusalem, with no extra charge. Before arriving in the city, the travelers on the bus will be able to see the "Itraveljerusalem" webpage and to receive updates on events in the city in the coming days. The "Itraveljerusalem" website is available in six different languages and has more than 5 million visits every year. Furthermore, the inner city public transportation, including buses and the light rail, will be available for a whole week with no surcharge for tourists who have purchased the "Jerusalem City Pass" in advance. 



As part of its initiative to make the city more accessible, The Jerusalem Development Authority will station huge colorful trucks in the Jaffa gate and the "Machne Yehuda" market. In the trucks, the visitors will get all the information needed and more on tourist attractions, art, cultural events, the culinary scene and historical sites. The trucks will have free Wi-Fi, an option to recharge cell phones and have a cool and refreshing drink. All this will make Jerusalem the new desirable destination for tourism around the world.

Ilanit Melchior, Tourism Director of The Jerusalem Development Authority: "The city has experienced an immense growth and performed an actual leap into modernity in a way that cannot be ignored. For example, today, there are 20,000 hotel's rooms in Jerusalem including boutique hotels, hostels for millennials and international well-known marks. There has been a 47% percent increase in the number of overnights stays from incoming tourism and the conferences tourism increased times five. These new services will offer great help for tourists and will make 'all dots connect' in Jerusalem. As part of this concept, we also plan on adding a free of charge Wi-Fi service across the city in the near future. All these make the tourist feel comfortable before and during his visit to Jerusalem and not just provide him with a soft landing, but also the feeling that he is being looked after".

Philippe Rousselet chairman and founder of OTIPASS “Otipass is very honored to have to be chosen by Jerusalem and we are very impatient to put our technological solution and our expertise at the service of the promotion of a so wonderful territory”.

 Photos by Silvia Golan







  • ·For the first time in Israel, TEDxTel Aviv Salon
  • ·Competition to develop tourism apps (hackathon)
  • ·Professional conference to mark 7 years of activities in the Druze and Circassian villages
  • ·Panel with Tourism Ministry Regional Directors

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, on opening the tourism conference: “I am pleased to open IMTM, the largest ever tourism fair to be held in Israel.  The size and scope of the fair is testament to the fact that Israel is becoming an attractive destination for tourism and those in the tourism business from around the world.  2016 was a ground-breaking year for tourism to Israel.  The increase in incoming tourism is because of the wide-ranging marketing activities of the Tourism Ministry, which include breaking into new markets and the adoption of innovative marketing strategies, whether in digital marketing or in emerging markets such as China and India. We are in the midst of a transformation in the aviation field, where, as a result of the support offered by the Tourism Ministry to airline companies who open new routes into Israel, Hainan Airlines and Ryanair began flying into Israel for the first time. IMTM will give additional momentum to this trend and will have a positive influence on increasing incoming tourism to Israel in 2017.”


 Jerusalem, February 5, 2016 - Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will open Tuesday  the Tourism Ministry stand at IMTM, the International Mediterranean Tourism Market, which will take place at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, Pavilion 2,  from 7-8 February.


Ten tourism ministers from around the world will participate in this year’s IMTM – a record number for IMTM -  including after several years’ absence, H.E. Tourism Minister from Turkey, Mr. Nabi Avci, who will meet with Tourism Minister Levin. Other tourism ministers and senior tourism officials attending IMTM come from Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Norway, Romania, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zanzibar,  Ethiopia,  Lithuania, Philippines and Kazakhstan, among others.


The Tourism Ministry is hosting about 200 tour operators and conference organizers from overseas with a view to exposing them to the Israeli tourism product at IMTM, as well as offering them tours of the country. The Tourism Ministry stand will feature various attractions, including a large screen that will list the hotels awarded stars under the Tourism Ministry hotel rating scheme. Tablets will be available for the public to try out the new Tourism Ministry app. The stand will also screen Tourism Ministry videos and TV commercials with the new branding that the ministry is promoting in marketing campaigns overseas. Subsidiaries of the Tourism Ministry will also be exhibiting at the stand: The Dead Sea Preservation Government Company that will present for the first time the branding of the lowest place on earth for investors, as well as the Old Acre Development Company that will present the range of sites and attractions for tourists in the city, including the new Haifa-Acre pleasure cruise line.


Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi: “The marketing structure of the Tourism Ministry is currently undergoing great change, both in its organizational structure and in terms of the branding and campaign activities, for example the Two Cities One Break campaign that is targeted at tourism into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, alongside the development of new tourism products such as the “the Land of the Desert” targeted to Europeans in winter. The ministry will continue its’ cooperation with online travel agents, as well as hosting opinion formers – an important additional aspect of marketing Israel as a tourism destination.”


For the first time, IMTM will host the TEDxTelAvivSalon about tourism issues. Four lecturers will address the event in English, which will open a door to the world of tourism. Omer Boger will speak about his personal story – how, with the minimum of resources, it is possible to take an abandoned place and transform it into a meeting place for people from around the world. Noam Klinger, CEO of Eatwith, will speak about the new world of tourism, in which visitors seek out authentic experiences and not just attractions. Tzippora Nussbaum will offer a glimpse into the ultra-Orthodox (haredi) world and Dr. Eran Ketter will present how it is possible to overturn a countrywide trend with marketing.


For the second time, IMTM will host a Tourism Ministry hackathon, a competition to develop tourism apps. Competition finalists will present their apps before a panel of judges and an audience. The finalists developed tourism apps that are designed to enhance the experience of the visitor and tourist in Israel. Every app makes use of the extensive database provided by the Tourism Ministry for public use. The database currently includes about 25,000 pieces of information. This is the largest database of its type among all the government ministries. The competition winners will receive cash prizes, with the first prize being NIS 10,000.


There will also be a panel via Skype with the directors of the Israel Government Tourist Offices in Germany, India and China covering the marketing activities in those destinations.


The Tourism Ministry will also hold a conference to mark seven years of activity developing rural tourism in the Druze and Circassian communities. In recent years, the ministry has invested tens of millions of shekel in improving tourism infrastructure and establishing tourism incubators to help small tourism-related businesses in these villages. The conference will include encounters with some of the people behind the success stories in the Druze and Circassian tourism enterprise, as well as tastes of ethnic cuisine and folklore.



For a full program, see here

IMTM   Pavilion 2, Tel Aviv Convention Center, 101 Rokach Boulevard.




See some rooftop photos from the convention


Dear friends,
My friend Talma who was at the convention enjoyed it so much that she visited Hadera afterwards again and wrote more about the city.  I am happy to share her post on Hadera from https://www.israel-best-trips.com


Hi there!

I attended a tourist convention just before Passover at Hadera, a city located midway between Tel-Aviv and Haifa, organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Municipality of Hadera.  I myself was curious to hear what there was to do in Hadera since I had always thought of it as a sleepy suburban town. Boy was I mistaken. I came out all fired up and returned two days later with my daughter and her friend during the Passover school vacation in order to try out one of the trails.



My title is related to two of the many attractions available in the city. The power house’s visitors center that is active year-round is undergoing renovation and will be re-opened in October 2018. In addition, an interesting observation led to a new tourist attraction, a shark observation point since apparently sharks are attracted to the power house and since their peak season is in winter, I hope to write a separate post about the power house sometime round Q1 2019.


The power couple on the other hand is related to the rich history of Hadera. Yehoshua and Olga Hankin belonged to the first wave of settlers that took place between 1882-1904 (The First Aliya). Yehoshua was a Zionist Activist and gifted negotiator who used his talents to purchase lands leading to an overall lifetime achievement of ~650,000 Dunam (=650 km2), including lands in Rehovot, Hadera the Jezreel valley and more. His wife Olga, was a very educated woman at the time. As a trained midwife she used her connections with the established families of the region to support her 13-year younger husband’s zealous land purchasing activities. A tour in Hadera takes you to some of the locations related to them.

Hadera has lovely parks and beaches, but I’m afraid I left them for a future post. Till then, you can look up HaSharon Park, Hadera River Park and Gador Nature Reserve for a few additional options.

Trip Agenda Options

-         A guided historic tour of the Olga Neighborhoods and ‘Beit Olga Hankin’

-         Major points to visit on the “Eucalyptus Trail” historic route

o   The founders garden ‘Gan Hameyasdim’

o   The market

o   The first kiosk

o   The first school in Hadera ‘Ehad Ha’am’

o   The Feinberg House

o   The Khan Hadera Museum

Trip Anchors


The ‘Eucalyptus Trail’ Historic Route

I’ve chosen to write about major points because at the moment the trail is mainly in Hebrew aside from a few locations that either offer English options or that do not require explanation.

The Founders’ Garden ‘Gan Hameyasdim’

Address: On the corner of Rothschild St. and Weizmann St. You can enter from either one.

The founders’ garden was designed by the sculptor Dani Karavan with the intention of paying tribute to all those who contributed to the city, the founders and the fallen soldiers. The garden is built around a long avenue of palm trees planted by the founders with a memorial home ‘Beit Yad Lebanim’ (the building with the tree coming out of the roof) and a large monument of columns for the fallen soldiers on one end and a preserved well and beautiful fish pond symbolizing the early swamps on the other hand. It’s a beautiful starting point, no explanations needed. We shared our sandwiches with the fish.





The Market

Address: 70 Herbert Samuel St.

It’s mainly a fruit and vegetable market, but we actually enjoyed the closed stalls the most because the shutters are painted with murals and are great for selfie photos.


The First Kiosk

Address: Shderot Amir Mei-Tal corner of Ehad Ha’am St.

Phone: 052-6616360

In Hadera, not only did they restore the first kiosk, they reactivated it! You can get soda from a real soda fountain, freshly squeezed fruit juice and light snacks. The girls were not impressed with the historic feature, so they got the freshly squeezed juice and I was left with ordering non-diet soda for the photo, so I got a mix of all flavors: apricot, pineapple, raspberry and grape. In the end, I even enjoyed it. The kiosk is located next to avenue with interesting sculptural elements named after Lt. Colonel Amir Mei-Tal who grew up in Hadera and was killed in Lebanon.


The First School in Hadera ‘Ehad Ha’am’

Address: 12 Ehad Ha’am St.

Phone: 04-6303101

The first school, named after the Zionist leader ‘Ehad Ha’am’ was founded in the 1920s by the High Commissioner Herbert Samuel and today serves partly as an educational museum and partly as a meeting room for the municipal council. The children of the neighborhood now use newer classrooms built next door. With respect to English, the museum has bilingual plaques or you can reserve a guided tour. The film and interactive games have yet to be translated into English.


The Feinberg House

Address: 34 Jabotinsky St.

Phone: 04-6343296

I was going to write about the NILI Organization elsewhere, but since Avshalom Feinberg was a key member of the NILI Organization, I can’t help but mention them. The NILI Organization was a Jewish espionage network that tried to assist the British in their war against the Ottoman empire. The network was active throughout 1915-1917 and Avshalom Feinberg played a major role in its operations.

I was surprised by the beauty of his restored parent’s homestead with its intricate hand-painted wall decorations in each room and heavy European furniture in the middle of the swamps. The museum contains several original family objects. You can reserve a tour in English including a film in English that tells the story of the Feinberg family and Avshalom in particular. Additionally, there is a café next on the house grounds, but I didn’t try it during this visit.


The Khan Hadera Museum


Address: 74 Hagiborim St.

Phone: 04-6324562

‘Khan’ means inn and that’s exactly what this 140-year old building was. The first settlers who purchased land via Yehoshua Hankin’s mediation in 1891, came from the Ukraine and did not know that the Ottoman empire did not allow settlers to build homes. Thus, the first 30 families found themselves living together in this wayside inn for five years till the Turks changed the law. A tour of the Khan is fascinating because today the multiple rooms are used for displaying life in Hadera throughout the decades starting from the first settlers and up to a lifesize ‘transit camp’ tin hut and food-stamp booklet, each room with original artifacts from its era.  The Khan Hadera Museum is adjacent to The Great Synagogue that was built on its premises between 1936-1940 for 1100 people. It’s open when prayers are active so I missed it this time, but if you arrive on time, you can see the beautiful stained glass windows.


Another nice thing about this museum for you is that it offers group tours (15 or above) in English that include both a guide and an actor. If you are a very small group, you can take a self-guided tour with an English pamphlet, but if you are near 15, you can negotiate the group offering. Also, the film has an English version. In either case, it is recommended to let the museum know in advance that an English version will be required so that they have enough printed materials and the film set up.



Additional Options

The ‘Olga Neighborhoods’ and ‘Beit Olga Hankin’

During the convention, we took a guided tour throughout the neighborhoods and met Lewis, a local resident since 1957. He told stories about life in Hadera and how the city developed over time with great enthusiasm and love.


Our tour ended at a place you can visit by yourself, ‘Beit Olga Hankin’. Yehoshua built this beach house for Olga, but she passed away before it was complete. Today it serves as a dairy kosher restaurant and is a lovely place with an excellent sea-view. Regardless, it’s a great place to end the day with coffee and a walk on the beach.


Tour Reservation Phone: 04-6343296

‘Beit Olga Hankin’ Address: 1 Menachem Begin St.

‘Beit Olga Hankin’ Phone: 04-6214424.


Aside from ‘Beit Hankin’, there are ‘Rafi Batzomet’, ‘Opera’, ‘Brisket’, ‘Shipudei Olga’, ‘Pasta Loco’, ‘Theta’, ‘Sami Bakikar’, ‘Coffee Feinberg’, ‘Haroeh BaCafe’, ’80 rest’ and ‘Benny HaDayag Kfar Hayam’.


My hot rooftop photos were taken from the 22nd floor terrace of the ‘Ramada Resort Hadera Beach’ hotel, where the convention took place.

My timeline

I spent two days in Hadera and will surely come back.




Photos by Talma Gotteiner








In 2016, Panama Will Join the List Of Countries with which Israel Enjoys Free Trade Agreements, Including the US, the EU, AFTA Countries, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay



JERUSALEM –November 26th, 2015 – Israel concluded negotiations with Panama on a free trade agreement: an Israeli delegation headed by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy which included seven representatives from relevant government ministries held the fourth round of talks in Panama City between November16th -19th, 2015 and succeeded in bridging the remaining gaps between the sides and completing the talks.


Panama enjoys free trade agreements with several countries, including the US, the EU, Canada, AFTA countries, Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. The free trade agreement with Panama will put Israel in a similar position regarding trade benefits.


The agreement, which will include a clause on the services sector, represents another springboard for Israeli companies in the service industry (a field comprising 30% of all Israeli exports). Israeli companies will now be able to participate in this sector in Panama -- with an emphasis on software, communications, information security, engineering and research and development – and thus enjoy the potential of this and related markets. Negotiations took place within the framework of the Israeli Ministry of Economy's policy of expanding exports from Israel to new markets and the policy established in May, 2013 of tightening relations with Latin American countries.


In this latest round of talks, several work groups convened to discuss the following subjects: access to markets, customs and rules of origin, services, investments, protection of vegetation and livestock, trade obstacles and institutional issues. The agreement includes total reduction of customs on all industrial products (some will be reduced gradually over several years), partial lifting of tariffs on agricultural products and benefits for the export of services in various fields. The agreement is expected to take effect at the end of 2016.


With talks successfully concluded, Panama will join the list of countries with which Israel has signed trade agreements: the EU – since 1975, US – 1985, AFTA (Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland) – 1992, Canada – 1997, Turkey – 1997, Mexico – 1999, MERCOSUR (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) – 2007, Colombia – (signed in 2013 but yet to be ratified by the Colombian government).


Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, said: "The Ministry of Economy continues to strengthen Israel's economic ties with countries around the world, with an emphasis on developing economies with high growth potential. This will strengthen Israel's foothold in Latin America, in line with our policy of expanding export channels for Israeli industry and various services sectors. The agreement will open new possibilities for Israeli industry while giving a competitive edge to Israeli manufacturers. Panama is a candidate to become member of the Pacific Alliance, a bloc of Latin American countries comprising Mexico, Colombia (both countries with which Israel has free trade agreements), Chile and Peru. The bloc includes some 200 million people and a combined GDP of more than $3 trillion; it covers 35% of the GDP of all Latin American countries and more than 50% of Latin American trade."


Mrs. Yifat Alon Perel, Director of Bilateral Trade and Economic Agreements at the Foreign Trade Administration and head of the Israeli negotiating team, said: "Free trade agreements constitute a significant infrastructural framework for Israeli exports. Today, some 65% of Israeli exports are directed to countries with which Israel has free trade agreements and this gives exporters customs benefits and a competitive edge, among other advantages. The Foreign Trade Administration continues to act for the benefit of exporters by ensuring their products remain competitive and by creating better access to new markets. This is done by striving to remove trade obstacles exporters may encounter when trying to enter new markets. As of today, Israeli industry enjoys a competitive advantage in Latin America in exports to the Mercosur bloc which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Israel is the only non-Latin American country with an active free trade agreement with this important bloc. In addition, Israel has an active trade agreement with Mexico and two years ago signed a free trade agreement with Colombia which is expected to take effect in the coming year. Our goal is to expand the benefits Israeli industry enjoys to additional countries. The agreement with Panama will be the fourth one Israel has signed in Latin America. Strengthening economic relations with Panama is doubly important, both in opening new markets for Israeli industry but also in strengthening Israel's position among Latin American countries.”


According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the economy of Panama is based mainly on a highly developed services sector, which represents more than three-quarters of the country's GDP, and includes management of the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Trade Zone, insurance, operation of the ports, shipping registration and tourism. The rate of economic growth in Panama reached 8.4% in 2013 and 6.2% in 2014, significantly higher than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean Islands (1.7% in 2014, according to World Bank data). Panama's growth is attributed among other things to the widening of the Panama Canal, begun in 2007 at a cost of $5.3 billion. Additional infrastructure development projects expected to take place may also draw Israeli companies with relevant experience.


The country's modest exports reach only $25 million, but may grow in light of the agreement and in light of Panama’s role as a bridge to other countries in the region.


 Photos : Andrés Lacko