Tourism Ministry Reaches Out to Help Industry

The Tourism Ministry has announced an aid package to help tourism-oriented businesses damaged in Protective Edge.

Yaakov Levi ,

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The Israeli tourism industry was one of the biggest victims of Israel's war-centered summer, and to prevent the collapse of many of the smaller tourist-related businesses that are unlikely to recover anytime soon, the Tourism Ministry on Sunday announced an aid package that, it is hoped, will help those businesses get back on their feet.

In a statement, the Ministry said that the assistance being given was independent of any specific allocations that the government was planning to make for compensation of individuals and businesses who sustained losses in the war. Legislation on that compensation is pending, but the Ministry said it was not waiting; instead, it is doubling its marketing budget, for a total of NIS 10 million, through to the end of 2014.

The money will be used for general Israel-oriented ad and marketing campaigns, as well as for specific sectors hurt by the war. Money will be available for sectors and businesses to offer discounts and special packages, in partnership with the government.

In a letter, Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi said that “as a result of Operation Protective Edge and its impact on the tourism industry, the Tourism Ministry intends to take a number of immediate steps" to assist industry members. “It is our intention to act immediately on an internal decision that does not require the approval of the Finance Ministry, within the existing frameworks,” the letter said.

Besides doubling the marketing budget, the government is subsidizing the cost of trips abroad for tour operators, hotel marketers, and other tourism industry workers, to attend international shows and events to promote Israeli tourism.

In his letter Halevi noted that the Ministry “will implement additional tools, as well as possible changes and adaptations to existing ones, in order to assist as much as we can. I believe that these immediate measures will help incoming tour operators deal with the crisis, reduce the levels of uncertainty and facilitate increased marketing activity that will, at the end of the day, lead to a recovery in the numbers of incoming tourists after Operation Protective Edge and a swift return to record tourism numbers.”



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