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Celebrating the New Year with Travel Industry VIPs...And not only VIPs from Israel’s travel Industry!

The Grand Ballroom at Tel Aviv’s Hilton Hotel was the scene last night when some 40 Ambassadors and other senior diplomatic representatives also gathered to meet and celebrate the upcoming Jewish New Year with hoteliers, airline representatives, tourism ministry staffers, tour guides and other industry members. A glittering gathering of the movers and shakers of Israel’s booming tourism industry, and the diplomats who serve here as representatives of their respective countries.

As one of the speakers, referring to the many ambassadors present, pointed out: “You are the ambassadors to Israel of your countries. We look upon each of you also as the ambassador of Israel to your home country. A win-win situation”.



The event was the annual New Year gathering hosted by the Israel Hotel Association. Michael (Mickey) Federman, chairperson of the Association was, unfortunately, unable to attend (for personal reasons). The introductory welcome address was therefore given in his place by Moni Bar, who is also the CEO of Budget in Israel and Honorary Consul of Bulgaria There were several other speakers. It was refreshing to hear reviews of the theme of “power and potential” of the successes that Israeli tourism – incoming as well as outgoing – is experiencing. Speakers stressed the numbers from his or her point of view: incoming tourism (booming!), outgoing numbers, airline passengers, hotel-room occupancies, tour guides, travel agencies and more.  

The guest of honor and keynote speaker was MK Yariv Levin, Israel’s Minister of Tourism. His inspiring talk included some interesting statistics, such as the fact that August 2018’s incoming arrivals numbers were even better than September 2017’s figures – which were then best ever in Israel’s history. Or that tourism pumps something like 20 billion shekels per year into the Israeli economy. Mr. Levin mentioned that starting soon there will be no less than four routes (by differing airlines) between Tel Aviv and China, and revealed that from December there will be non-stop flights by a Brazilian airline to and from Tel Aviv. “Tourism is so important to so many economic sectors. All our efforts – and all your efforts – make this happen”.

Among the guests were: Amir Hayek President of the Israel Hotel Association, Amir Halevi Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Ephraim Fortis, Founder, President and CEO of Open Sky, Eyal Kashdan CEO of Flying Carpet, Ronen Nissenbaum Dan Hotels’ new President & CEO,  Yossi Fattal (CEO) and Miki Poleg Commercial General Manager, Fattal Hotels, Lior Gelfand CEO ORTRA, Anat Shihor-Aharonson, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, Nir David Naimy General Manager Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach, Lior Haimovitz  General Manager Dan Panorama Tel Aviv,  Daniel Siegreich General Manager Millenium-Arcosteel, Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu, Former IDF Spokesperson, Louisa Varaclas Director Israel Cyprus Tourism Organization, Avi Rosenthal former Director Israel Hotel Association and many more.

Tempting our appetites was a grand buffet (luxury Hilton Style). Orchestrating the success of the culinary part of the evening were Hilton Executive Chef Rafik Jabarin, and Kutubi, Hilton Hotel Events Manager. Nobody went hungry (or thirsty) while guests mingled and chatted amiably. Toasting the success of the tourism industry and to a happy new year for all, has never been tastier.


The Manager and staff of www.diplomacy.co.il join in wishing all tourism industry members a joyous and successful New Year.


Fotos by Silvia G. Golan