The tourism program in which the Prime Minister will participate, in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, is a major television production directed by travel journalist and producer Peter Greenberg, who is known from his international travel shows on PBS and the Travel Channel. The program covers heads of state who serve as tour guides in their countries and has approximately 300 million viewers around the world.
Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to call the project B'shvil Yisrael ["Israel Trail" or "For Israel"] given that its goal is to significantly increase the number of tourists coming to Israel and that it covers the length and breadth of Israel's trails.
Greenberg has already worked with man leaders including the King of Jordan, the presidents of Mexico and Peru, the Prime Minister of New Zealand and others.
Filming for the Israeli segment of the program ("Israel: The Royal Tour") began last year after at Rosh Hanikra, the Technion, the Old City of Caesarea and the holy places in Jerusalem and was halted after Prime Minister Netanyahu was injured during a soccer game with Jews and Arabs.
Filming will be completed next month at sites throughout the country.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will present the beautiful face of Israel to hundreds of millions of people round the world via Greenberg's show, which will film in/at Eilat, Solomon's Pillars in Timna Park, Masada, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee and include the Tel Aviv nightlife.
The project is of major importance vis-à-vis public diplomacy, the economy and tourism. Countries in which the project has been held have seen increases in incoming tourism. For example, following h broadcast of the program in Mexico, incoming tourism increased by over 10%.
2012 was a record year for incoming tourism to Israel – 3,520,000.
According to Tourism Ministry data, the US, which is the main target for the program, is the country from which the greatest number of tourists come to Israel.
The state of Israel's income from tourism in 2012 was estimated at approximately $36 billion. The Tourism Ministry estimates income per tourist at approximately $1,500. The goal is for the program to lead to an additional 200,000 tourists to come to Israel, increasing income from tourism by an additional over $1 billion.
The program's production crew numbers 35 people, who are expected to arrive in Israel next week.
Following is a list of the sites that were filmed in June of last year:
Rosh Hanikra – Cable car, grottoes, and bicycle trail to a banana field;
Technion – Review of the latest technological developments;
Old City of Caesarea – Crusader gate, walk along the walls, horse training in the hippodrome;
Jerusalem – Overlook from the Mt. of Olives, visit to the graves of Prime Minister Netanyahu's grandparents, the Tower of David Museum, and a soccer game between Jewish and Arab youth.
Prime Minister said, on the first day of filming at Rosh Hanikra, "I am calling this project B'shvil Yisrael [see above] in order to raise up tourism in Israel even higher and to change the image. We are at Rosh Hanikra, we will be at Masada, the Dead Sea, the Technion, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – in order to show the true Israel, the other Israel that is not seen. Peter Greenberg has boosted tourism in Mexico, New Zealand and Jordan and this is the goal – to raise up tourism in Israel as well, for people to see that this is a fun country."
Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said, "We welcome Mr. Greenberg's return to Israel and remember, first and foremost, that he is a tourist. We will continue to work to increase the number of tourists who come to Israel every year to experience its beauty, become acquainted with its rich history and to be inspired by it. We see tourism as an important economic growth engine and I have no doubt that the program will contribute to increasing Israel's exposure and what it has to offer to tourists around the world."