In celebration of a third consecutive record year for tourism to Israel with 4.5 million visitors – of which 100,000 were Canadian – the Israel Government Tourist Office held an event in Toronto yesterday (Dec. 12) inviting participants to get a taste of the destination with a lavish breakfast spread at Parallel restaurant.
“It’s the conclusion of 2019, which was the best year in history in regards to tourism to Israel,” Gal Hana, the new director for Canada for the Israel Government Tourist Office told PressToday. “What better way to experience what we’re talking about all the time than to eat an Israeli breakfast – it’s our signature food. It’s a great culinary destination.”
Designed to showcase Israel as the ultimate experiential destination for leisure, adventure, sports, culinary, history and faith, the event featured presentations by media and trade personnel who recently went to Israel and shared some of the highlights of their experience.
Noel Hulsman, head of media for Yahoo Canada, went twice, once to take part in Israman, Israel’s version of Ironman, swimming in the Red Sea, biking along the Negev Desert, and running along the beach to the finish line.
“The spirit of community is absolutely incredible,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to go twice and it was magical. There’s just so much on offer.
Meanwhile freelance writer Suzanne Wintrob, a contributor for Hello! Canada, recalled her experience running through history by taking part in the Israel Marathon.
“Passing through the old part and the new part you really get to experience the country,” she said. “Being Jewish it was interesting to see the Christian sites.”
Finally, Liz Devine of Rainbow High Vacations discovered the adventurous side of Israel including hiking up the Ramon Crater and rappelling down the cliff in the Negev Desert.
Hana urged attendees to push Israel to more Canadians, in particular, those looking for authentic experiences.
“[Canadians] are looking for something different, not only sea and sun, they are looking for something diverse, the seniors are looking for something more sophisticated, Israel has it all,” he said.
Pictured at Parallel restaurant (top photo) are Ellen Melman, Gal Hana and Jerry Adler. BOTTOM: Cynthia Farrill, with Air Canada’s Tony Celio and Audrey Tanguay Beaudette.