Arie Sommer discusses travel to Israel with Reed Travel Features'
Israel editor, Shuly Kustanowitz.
TW: What are the market segments that are drawn most to
Sommer: Israel is an extraordinary destination for explorers,
ecology buffs, historians, food- and wine-lovers and adventure
travelers, not to mention those in search of a unique and dazzling
Mediterranean vacation. Israel's centrality as the birthplace of
Judaism and Christianity and as a holy place of Islam is what makes
it one of the most fascinating and yearned-for destinations on the
TW: Whom should agents expect to be interested in visiting
Israel in the near future?
Sommer: Christians, Jews, families, singles, convention
attendees and second-time visitors are all groups that are likely
to come to Israel in increasing numbers.
In the short term, we expect a larger-than-usual number of both
Jewish and Christian Americans to come to Israel this year to join
us in celebrating our 50th anniversary.
In 2000, we expect perhaps as many as 4 million Christians to
come to Israel specifically to be in the land where Jesus and
Christianity were born two
TW: What do you see as the greatest accomplishment in the area
of tourism in Israel's first five decades?
Sommer: There have been many, but one stands out above the rest:
For the first time in the history of this land, all the holy places
of all the religions who consider this land sacred are open to all
who wish to visit or to worship. This is a first, and we Israelis
are very proud of this accomplishment. In historic terms, keeping
religious sites open to everyone is our greatest
* * *
Contact one of these regional Israel government tourist
Chicago (midwest region): (312) 782-4306, fax (312)
Dallas (southern region): (972) 991-9097; fax (972)
Los Angeles (western region): (213) 658-7462; fax (213)
New York (Ministry of Tourism North America): (212) 499-5650;
IGLOO Northeast Region, (212) 499-5660; fax (212) 499-5655.
Toronto (Canada): (416) 964-3784 or (800) 669-2369; fax (416)
Or agents can call the Travel Information Center of the Israel
Ministry of Tourism: (212) 499-5660, (800) 514-1188, fax (212)
Travelers can call (888) 77-ISRAEL.
www.goisrael.com; [email protected] or