Economy and Tourism
- Written by Buzzy Gordon
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.
Photos by Silvia Golan
- Written by Silvia G 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
- Written by Philippine Embassy
Philippine Pavilion Wows Crowd at Israel's International Tourism Fair
11 February 2016, Tel Aviv, State of Israel – The Philippine pavilion at the annual International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) instantly stood out as a crowd winner during the fair's 22nd edition, which was recently held at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
The panoramic views of destinations adorning the pavilion, beautiful and upbeat videos, rich taste of Filipino delicacies, and the variety of song and dance performances, including flair bartending, attracted hundreds of visitors and showed them that, truly, "It's More Fun in the Philippines."
The Philippine pavilion was formally opened by Department of Tourism Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., who led the first DOT delegation to the IMTM, and Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial. Joining them were other DOT officials and partner travel agencies from the Philippines such as Annset Holidays, Inc., Flyeast Philippines, Intas Destination Management, Inc., Maman Aviation, Ltd., and Travel Experts, Inc.
Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Gideon Levin also visited the Philippine pavilion during the first day of the travel fair and was delighted to watch the "Tinikling" performed by members of the Filipino community in Israel.
DOT officials also held a Country Presentation on the second day of the fair. Around 50 travel and tour agencies, including business organizations, attended the event. Through videos, photos, and cultural performances, DOT officials showed why the Philippines is the next best destination for Israelis in Asia.
This is the fourth time that the Philippines has participated in the IMTM. Previous participations were done through partnership between the Philippine Embassy and the Israel-Philippines Tourism Chamber. However, this is the first time that a Philippine pavilion was organized and led by DOT which has made Israel as one of its priority markets.
In an interview with the Israeli media, Undersecretary Bengzon said: "We are trying to position the Philippines as one of the newest, most exciting, and most fun destination in Asia. Last year we had about 12,000 tourists from Israel and we grew by about 34 or 35 percent. So for us, this is a very good sign. It's an indication that the Israeli outbound travelers who, by the way, are very very sophisticated are starting to see the potential of the Philippines as an exciting destination in Asia." --
- Written by Ministry of Tourism
TOURISM MINISTRY PRESENTS AT IMTM, THE INTERNATIONAL MEDITERRANEAN TOURISM MARKET:
- ·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 .
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.
- Written by Ministry of Economy
ISRAEL AND PANAMA COMPLETE NEGOTIATIONS ON FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
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