The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which recently accepted Israel as a member, has chosen Jerusalem instead of Paris as the venue for its annual conference in October. Tourism ministers from the 31 countries in the OECD will attend the organization’s 86th meeting.
The conference carries both prestige and special importance, given the decision by OECD leaders to deviate from tradition and not hold the meeting in Paris. “The choice of Israel, and in particular Jerusalem, is a vote of confidence in the Israeli tourism industry and its economy, " said the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer are scheduled to attend the conference, along with officials of the World Tourism Organization.
The three-day conference will deal with “green growth," as derived from the OECD program to develop and promote a green policy as a means to economic growth. It will discuss ways in which tourism can contribute both in developing the green tourism product, the ecological effects on tourism and identifying green business opportunities.
The conference will provide an immediate boost to the Israeli tourism industry as officials fill hotel rooms and tourist sites in the country. “Israel’s joining the OECD is of great importance in terms of building a positive image for the country,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.
"The positive image gained will have an effect on the tourist’s choice to visit Israel, and it will attract foreign investors to the country, including, among others, investors in tourism," he noted. "The committee’s decision to hold its annual meeting in Jerusalem and give it a festive and prestigious touch, together with the invitation to tourism ministers from the member countries, is an important vote of confidence with additional significance for promoting tourism and improving Israel’s image around the world.”