Israel: Heading In The Right Direction

In Toronto this week, Uri Steinberg, tourism commissioner for North America for Israel and Ami Allon, consul for tourism – IGTO Canada, provided top travel trade types and key customers with an update on how things have been going for Israel during the first half of 2015 and also provided a briefing on Israel’s tourism marketing and promotion plans for the remainder of this year.

“Our office is small, but mighty,” observed Allon during his presentation. “Canada is a huge country, but we try to be where we need to be and it helps that we have great partners,” he said in direct reference to the role that the travel trade plays in selling Israel.

Allon, who after three years, will be leaving his post as consul for tourism – IGTO Canada at the end of July, said that over the past two years the tourist office has been focusing its efforts on Ontario and Montreal as well as working to tap into the Western Canada market – one that he says offers “great potential” for generating traffic to Israel.

And while 2014 was a difficult year, Allon told his audience that 2015 is looking much better, commenting: “We need to be optimistic about the future because we’re heading in the right direction.”

In his presentation, Uri Steinberg made it abundantly clear that IGTO’s New York office is clearly aware that Canada is a different market and praised the efforts of Allon, Ellen Melman and Jerry Adler, who have been effective in selling Israel to a broadening range of markets here in Canada.

Steinberg noted that today’s consumer is a changed consumer – who prefers pull messaging rather than push messaging – and that has certainly made things challenging.

However, Steinberg said that in North America, Israel has an advantage. With the Christian market a key for Israel, Israel’s consul and tourism commissioner for North America pointed out that of the 75 million Evangelical Christians in North America, only 3% have visited Israel and that clearly presents an opportunity for the destination.

Steinberg told the Toronto audience because of the “shrinking budget,” the tourist office has to look closely at where it spends its money, observing: “We need to maintain and retain focus on markets where we have clear, relative advantage.”

And going forward in 2015, Steinberg and Allon indicated that IGTO will be focusing its promotional activities on the Christian market.

Steinberg also emphasized the importance of travel agents and tour operators, telling those attending the event that the tourist office was here to work with the travel trade to help them sell Israel.

As for Allon, he took the opportunity to thank all those attending the July 9 morning event for their support during his time in Canada and praised Ellen Melman and Jerry Adler for their efforts.

“Three years showed me the potential of tourism to Israel [from Canada],” Allon said in concluding his remarks.

Watch for more on Israel in an upcoming issue of Canadian Travel Press.

Seen in the photo, from l to r, are Ellen Melman, Ami Allon and Uri Steinberg.