Israel is in the midst of a major tourism drive, expecting to attract ten million tourists over the next ten years.
This target was outlined by prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the Second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit taking place at the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem.
The two day event, which will conclude earlier, has attracted leaders of the travel and tourism industry, have been discussing the latest groundbreaking technologies and trends.
This year, a special emphasis has been placed on urban tourism, as well as innovative technologies in the world of tourism and travel.
Global leaders, academics and experts in the field of hospitality have been conducting panels discussing a wide range of issues affecting the tourism industry.
Israel has been leveraged as a Start-Up Nation and Jerusalem as a leader of technology.
“We have doubled the number of tourists in the last few years from 1.5 million to 3 million per year and we need to double this number again and continue its growth. Our goal is to reach ten million tourists a year in a decade,” explained Netanyahu at the Summit.
The Second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit of 2013 is initiated by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Tourism, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development Authority in cooperation with the Hebrew University and the Jerusalem International Convention Centre.
Netanyahu stated that: “The Israeli economy leads the OECD in growth, creation of new jobs, and low unemployment.
“Israel is in a good economic position to address the challenges ahead.
“There is great potential in multiplying the number of tourists arriving to Israel, which will generate additional jobs.”
Netanyahu addressed the tourist industry leaders stating: “The least the government can do is not getting in your way.
“The first step we took upon ourselves is to approve the open sky agreement.
“We remove the section in the annual budget that was going to raise the VAT. We are committed to tourism, and committed to protecting it.”
Netanyahu added: “Jerusalem is an exceptional city, the city of King David and King Solomon, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
“They were all here and billions of tourists can relate to that. A city that blends the past into the future.
“We want to combine the future with the vibrant past. In order to do so we need basic things – we are currently building 5,000 rooms and hotels in Jerusalem and Israel.”
Minister of Economy, Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett, said: “We have a unique government. Our goal is to show this incredible asset – Jerusalem. And we are talking business. Three million tourists out of a billion potential is quiet low. We can do much more.”
Bennett referred to the decision made by the Commission for equality in the burden, stating: “We have a unique government; we have began to focus inward and solve real problems we can tackle.
“We have just signed an agreement adding 10,000 Haredis into the workplace. Day by day we are making history. Our greatest task is to cut through various problems that have hunted us, especially through bureaucracy and over-regulations. In the upcoming years, we will sense a major change in the economy since we will ease on regulations. We are already doing so today and you have not seen anything yet.”
Bennett: “Each time I arrive to Jerusalem from my house in Ra’anana, I miss a heartbeat. In Sha’ar HaGai, beneath the mountains, I get that special feeling. Today on my way I have thought to myself that our heritage and our past are our greatest advantages. Thanks to Mayor Nir Barkat’s initiative, we see lots of research and development, advanced Sciences and overflow of arts, music, and culture.”
Key themes have emerged at the Second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit over the past two days. The forum will draw to a close later today.
Panel topics have included: “Planning Models for Urban Tourism,” “Tourism as a Tool for Urban Economic Development,” “The Smartphone Revolution and the Impact on Users and Managers of Urban Tourism,” “New Transportation Paradigms and the Future of Urban Tourism,” “Follow the Asian Success Story,” “Intangible Heritage and Urban Tourism Development, Sport and Urban Tourism,” and “Hotel Development in Historic Cities.”
Yesterday Sheldon Adelson received an honorary award for his efforts to change the face of tourism around the world. The business magnet was praised for his contribution to travel and tourism at the second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit 2013 taking place today.
Adelson’s career spans more than six decades and includes the creation of over 50 different companies, including the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and the COMDEX tradeshow for the computer industry.
The Las Vegas Sands Corporation has become the leading global developer of destination properties that feature premium accommodations, world-class gaming and entertainment, convention and exhibition facilities.