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Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "The Tourism Ministry is very active in promoting the Open Skies agreement which is expected to reduce the cost of flights into Israel and increase incoming tourism. We are committed to reducing vacation costs for Israeli and foreign tourists and within this framework we are working to encourage the operation of low-cost airlines from Europe into Israel" The Minister told exhibitors at the Israel booth: "We must work hard to market Israel as an attractive tourism destination from Europe and beyond".  


The four dayWorld Travel Market (WTM), the second largest tourism fair in the world, opened yesterday in London (10.11.13), with about 5,000 exhibitors from 184 countries and is expected to attract over 50,000 people.


During his visit to WTM, Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau met with the General Secretary of the World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) Dr. Taleb D. Rifai and with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Mr. Alexander Radkov. The Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Amir Halevi met with representatives of Ryanair to discuss their request to lower the landing fees in order to open up new low-cost routes into Israel.


Halevi also met with Hugh Aitken, the UK Commercial Manager of low-cost airline easyJet, to discuss increasing their flights into Israel from additional destinations in Europe. Halevi congratulated Aitken for being among the first in the low-cost sector to realize the significant potential of operating cheaper flights into Israel and added that the ministry will continue to work to strengthen this cooperation. The ministry estimates that, thanks to the recent implementation of the Open Skies agreement, the number of new destinations for low-cost flights will gradually increase, leading to a breakthrough in increased tourist traffic to the benefit of the economy.


The Israeli booth - which is smaller this year due to increased efficiency, spreads over 420 square meters and hosts activities related to the Open Skies agreement, including highlighting the openings of new hotels belonging to international hotel chains such as the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem and locating new tourism wholesalers interested in marketing Israel as a tourism product.


In addition to Tourism Ministry representatives, about 40 commercial tourism enterprises are taking part in the fair, including hotel chains, airline companies, incoming tour operators, commercial entrepreneurs, local authority representatives etc


More than 130,000 tourists have visited Israel from England since the beginning of the year through September, an increase of 3% over the same period last year.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 8 am – 2 pm  Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem

The conference will be conducted in English

The Taub Center is hosting a unique symposium with two of the leading researchers worldwide in the area of income inequality. The speakers will present cutting edge research – in a non-academic language – on the reasons for the recent surge in income inequality in most advanced economies, and on its economic and social consequences. The findings will be presented to senior Israeli policymakers and to the general public, followed by a high-level discussion pertaining directly to Israel.

8:00 am     Registration and refreshments

8:30 am     Introduction

Mr. Jay H. Sandak, President, Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation

Dr. Shula Recanati, Chairperson, Educating for Excellence, Taub Center Board Member

9:00 am     First Session

Causes and Consequences of Inequality among Industrial Economies

Prof. David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Increasing Income Inequality and its Impacts: Evidence from 30 Countries over 30 Years

Prof. Brian Nolan, University College, Dublin

10:30 am   Break

11:00 am   Second Session

Israeli Poverty and Inequality Trends in an International Perspective

Prof. Dan Ben-David, Taub Center Executive Director and Tel-Aviv University

Trends of Labor Income Inequality in Israel

Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Taub Center Deputy Director and Hebrew University

12:00 pm   Roundtable: Implications for Israel

Chair: Dr. Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel


MK Isaac Herzog, Chairman, Labor Party Parliamentary Group

Prof. David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Prof. Brian Nolan, University College Dublin

Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Taub Center Deputy Director and Hebrew University

Prof. Haya Stier, Chair, Taub Center Social Welfare Policy Program and Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Eran Yashiv, Chair, Taub Center Economic Policy Program and Tel-Aviv University

1:50 pm     Honoring Ralph I. Goldman  

                  Founding Board Member, Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel

                  Honorary Executive Vice President, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Mr. Jay H. Sandak, President, Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation

To register by phone 02-567-1818

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.




The embassy of Panama in Israel and Polaris Company  hosted these days a special cultural tourism event, hoping to tighten the tourism relations between the two countries and encourage tourism traffic from Israel to Panama 8th, 2013 in Tel Aviv

 At the event, Panama City and Tel Aviv pronounced Sister Cities, and a special dress (Pollera) embroidered with pearls and diamonds was presented. One of the most expensive dresses in the world, the Pollera is Panama’s traditional garb, presented mostly at special celebrations




The embassy of Panama in Israel and Polaris Company host these daysa special cultural tourism event in Tel Aviv hoping to tighten the tourism relations between the two countries and reveal Panama’s wonderful tourist attractions. Among the participants in the colorful upbeat traditional Panama cocktail party were Panama’s ambassador in Israel, Hector Aparicio, head of the marketing administration at the Panama Tourism Authority and senior officials in both countries’ tourism industries.



As part of the event, Tel Aviv and Panama were pronounced Sister Cities. Additionally, a special dress (a Pollera - Panama’s traditional garb) embroidered with diamonds and pearls and valued at tens of thousands of dollars, making it one of the world’s most expensive dresses, was presented at the event. The Pollera dress takes roughly one year to make. Its glorious history dating all the way back to the 16th century, today, the Pollera is only used on special celebratory occasions.

Located in Central America, The Republic of Panama borders on the Caribbean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, Colombia to the east and Costa Rica to the west. Its territory is approximately 78,000 square kilometers and it is home to approximately 3.6 million residents. The name Panama  means "abundance of fish and butterflies". Ethnically, most of the country’s citizens are of mixed origins: the most predominant group is “Mestizos” – people whose ancestors were both European and Amerindian, counting 69% of the population. Most of the population is catholic (roughly 80%). The climate in Panama is tropical and hospitable all year round. There are 7 autonomous communities of indigenous Amerindian peoples in Panama, all living an authentic lifestyle.


Panama offers a huge variety of scenery: sandy, white Caribbean beaches dotted with palm trees; tropical rain forests, cold, high mountaintops; enormous swamps and dormant volcanoes. Over 25% of Panama’s territory is dedicated to national parks and nature reserves, home to over 1,000 species of birds, 220 species of mammals and over 10,000 different species of vegetation. Panama offers about 2,000 islands and beautiful, exotic beaches. A visit to the beaches to the west and east of Panama would provide an opportunity to see sea turtles in large numbers. Considered one of the world’s richest places in birds, Panama is blessed with hundreds of species of colorful, beautiful avian creatures. Adjacent to Panama’s beaches are hundreds of islands. The main two groups of islands are San Blas and Bocas del Toro, a stunningly beautiful archipelago in the Caribbean with amazing coral reefs, home to a large variety of fish. Additionally, visitors can observe dolphins on the open ocean and tour the Beach of Red Frogs. An autonomous district run by the Kuna tribe, San Blas is a cluster of 400 tiny, picturesque islands that look as if they were taken straight out of a postcard. Living mostly on fishing, the members of the Kuna tribe travel between the islands in narrow canoes. Surprisingly, the locals have successfully preserved their economy, language, customs and culture. It is an ideal place for swimming in the midst of shawls of tiny silver fish, with dozens of brown albatrosses soaring above and diving into the water.


Other good diving, snorkeling and deep water fishing options are available at the beaches of the Pacific, near the islands of Coiba and Pearl. Here, one can go kayaking in stormy waters, visit national parks teeming with wildlife, go snorkeling in the Caribbean and swimming in the Pacific.

The capital of Panama, Panama City, is a cosmopolitan city filled with skyscrapers that resembles New York from afar. The city boasts a large variety of national museums and a rich history. The 5.25 billion dollar Panama Canal expansion project is due to be completed next year – 100 years after the opening of the first canal. 33.5 meters wide, the canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is one of the largest and most difficult engineering challenges in world history. The canal’s construction has had a great effect on travel between the two oceans. 4% of all the world’s goods pass through the canal, making it Panama’s main source of income. Over 14,000 ships sail through the canal each year.


Another exotic tourist attraction is Golfo de Chiriqui: a bay enclosing beautiful islands, surrounded by beaches, hot springs and fertile valleys. Most of the area has been pronounced a nature reserve and it offers plenty of options for diving, surfing, bird watching and fishing. Most of Panama’s eastern region is taken up by the Darien district; its virginal rainforests pronounced a biosphere reserve and a world asset by UNESCO.


Photo Silvia Golan






 Photo Silvia Golan


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