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Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: “I attach great importance to the hotel grading system as a step that will promote transparency and create a unified standard; we must aspire to a situation in which every hotel tariff reflects the standard of operation. We are at the starting line, in the future the statndard of service will also be investigated for the benefit of the guest and the industry itself.”

The Tourism Ministry announces the publication today (Thursday) of a new tender for selecting the service provider for rating hotels in Israel according to the Hotelstars system. This is in accordance with the commitment taken by the ministry at the Finance Committee meeting in the Knesset three weeks ago, following the cancelation of the earlier tender because no single proposal met the threshold criteria.  The tender, which was published in the media, is also available on the ministry website.

 

The difference in the threshold criteria between this tender and the last is in the removal of the requirement for experience in managing a hotel rating project of at least 100 hotels according to the Hotelstars system, and instead the tender requires the company and project manager to have experience in hotel rating and experience in at least one project using the Hotelstars system.

Three weeks ago, the Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi said in a discussion on hotel ranking in the Knesset Finance Committee that the ministry was determined to implement the hotel rankings scheme in Israel and that the ministry would complete its investigations and discussions related to updating the tender and changing the threshold conditions and would publish a new tender. Within a few months, a company would be chosen to start the hotel ranking at the beginning of 2014.

The ranking of hotels is included in the tourism services regulations that were approved by the Knesset Finance Committee and published on 3.1.2013. The regulations will come into effect on 3.9.2013 and rankings issued to hotels under the old regulations will expire in September 2014.

According to the regulations, the body that will implement the rankings and will be appointed by the minister, will have experience with ranking hotels according to the defined method, ie  the European Hotelstars system. The Tourism Ministry published a public tender to select the relevant body and four bids were submitted. Following discussions and investigations, a sub-committee of the Tenders Committee and thereafter the Tenders Committee itself ruled that none of the bids met with the threshold requirements and therefore the tender was canceled.

Further to the arrival in their new positions of the tourism minister, Dr. Uzi Landau and the D-G Amir Halevi, further internal discussions and investigations took place. The minister even held a round-table discussion led by and with the participation of the D-G and senior tourism ministry representatives. Also present were leading figures in the tourism industry as well as representatives from other consumer bodies, in order to listen to their opinion related to hotel ranking in general and the Hotelstars system in particular.

After the meeting, the Tourism Ministry representatives held an internal meeting in which the Tourism Minister decided to move forward with the tender using the Hotelstars system, which is accepted throughout Europe and familiar to European tourists who visit Israel.

   


Between October 31 and November 1, 2013, thousands of international investors, domestic businesses, government officials, and trade organizations will descend upon Washington DC for the first-everSelectUSA Investment Summit. This summit is a first-of-its-kind, national-level engagement intended to connect businesses and investors from around the world with U.S. economic development organizations at the state, regional, and local levels. The SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of a U.S. government-wide initiative to promote direct investment in the United States. Participants will benefit from unique networking opportunities; one-on-one meetings; moderated panels; discussions on the latest information on all aspects of investment; and, available resources in the U.S.

 

 

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro praised this unique opportunity, saying that “Israeli investors have contributed significantly to the American economy, contributing to make the U.S. the most attractive destination for investment… I strongly encourage all potential Israeli investors to consider attending this prestigious event.”

 

“The SelectUSA initiative is an integral part of the Obama administration’s efforts to increase direct investment in the United States, which leads to economic growth and job creation,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. “The SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit is the first of its kind, helping to match potential investors with economic development organizations…”

 

Maria Andrews, Commercial Counselor at the U.S. Embassy, said: “The United States not only offers a huge and very accessible market, but it makes a terrific platform for young Israeli companies to expand to other international markets, often acquiring valuable American strategic partners along the way.”

 

Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a critical role in the U.S. economy, which is why President Obama launched SelectUSA, the first-ever U.S. government-wide initiative to promote and facilitate investment in the United States.  In 2012, nearly $168 billion in FDI flowed into the United States. In 2011, employment by U.S. affiliates of foreign firms rose to 5.6 million U.S. workers, up from more than 5.3 million the previous year.

 

To learn more about SelectUSA, and to register for the summit, please visit www.selectusasummit.com

 

 

 

 

TOURISM MINISTRY INCREASES ITS MARKETING INVESTMENT IN CHINA AS THE REFORM IN VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR ISRAEL TAKES EFFECT

 TOURISM MINISTER DR. UZI LANDAU: “The Tourism Ministry has identified the tourism potential in China, defining it as one of the leading destinations in its campaign for emerging markets. As a result, we will work to increase the number of incoming tourists from China to Israel over the next few years. The two countries are rich in ancient history and heritage and I am sure that Chinese tourists will find Israel a source of inspiration.”

 

 The Israel Government Tourist Office in China is organizing a Road Show in three cities this week (8-12 July): Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. 500 leading Chinese travel agents are invited to attend the Road Show, some of them being specialists in the Middle East market. Following the seminars, which will expose the participants to the Israeli tourism product, there will be a series of round-table meetings between Israeli and Chinese tour operators to encourage cooperation. The ministry has also produced a booklet in Chinese, featuring business profiles of the Israeli companies participating in the Road Show.

 The Road Show, which is accompanied by extensive advertising in the trade and mainstream media, will also feature attractions such as Israeli food, Dead Sea mud treatments etc.

 The Israel Embassy in Beijing recently announced the implementation of reforms for Chinese visitors receiving entry visas to Israel, in order to encourage tourism. These include, among others, an option for a visa for independent travelers without the need for assistance from a local tour operator; a simpler procedure for issuing business visas to Israel and for bank guarantees for residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (where Israel has consular offices. It should be noted that, presently, Israeli consular services are not available worldwide due to a work dispute by Foreign Ministry employees). These easier procedures are part of a program to make Israel more accessible to the Chinese tourist and to encourage airlines to operate flights to Israel in the near future.

 In recent years, Israel has become an attractive tourism destination for the Chinese visitor, with an increase of 27% in incoming tourism from China during the first five months of 2013 versus the same period last year (and a 45% increase on 2011). China is the most important source country worldwide for tourism, with an increase of 20% in the numbers of visitors from China to international destinations during 2010-2011. In 2012, more than 20,000 visitors from China arrived in Israel.

3% INCREASE IN VISITOR ENTRIES IN JUNE 2013 VS JUNE 2012

VISITOR ENTRIES JAN-JUNE: 1% INCREASE ON FIRST HALF OF 2012 – RECORD LEVEL FOR THIS PERIOD IN THE YEAR

 TOURISM MINISTER DR.UZI LANDAU: "For the last few months, there has been an increase in incoming tourism in comparison to figures from last year. The Tourism Ministry views tourism as an essential engine for economic growth that creates new jobs in the periphery. We will continue our work in growing the number of visitors to Israel and realizing the tourism potemtial.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last night (Sunday, 23 June 2013), met with a delegation of approximately 25 senior Chinese businessmen led by Hang Lung Properties Chairman Ronnie Chan. National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel also attended the meeting.
Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed with the delegation members, who represent a broad range of economic and commercial sectors, ways to increase the Israeli business world's exposure to China in order to increase cooperation between Israeli and Chinese companies and develop joint initiatives that will contribute to both countries.