NEW YORK -- The Israel Ministry of Tourism debuted a revamped Web
site last month, www.goisrael.com, that provides more information and
functionality to travel agents and consumers than the previous
site, according to Noa Artzi, director of information services.
"The big difference is that the site is built as a direct
marketing-oriented site," said Artzi. "We really try to address the
different segments that are interested in Israel and try to focus
the site to their needs."
Goisrael.com's first incarnation launched in 1997. Artzi said
the new Goisrael.com's redesign process started in September
"I think it's a great site, but I'm not objective," said Artzi.
"This is my personal baby."
The site is designed for use by residents of North America.
Travel agents have a dedicated section on the site, accessible
through a home page button labeled, naturally, "Travel Agents."
Agents are asked to register if new to the site or sign in with
an e-mail address and password.
Once into the site, agents can find contact information for tour
operators, any packages being offered through the site or register
to become an Israel specialist.
The latter is a bit of a bonus because the site's consumer
sections direct visitors to agents who are Israel specialists.
Travel agents can also use Goisrael.com to order brochures,
maps, letterhead and other marketing tools.
"It should be a very friendly and easy working tool for the
agent, and more than just information," said Artzi. "We wanted to
take it to a more sophisticated level."
In its consumer-oriented sections, the site makes no bones about
who it's aiming for. The page's "Discover Israel" section, for
example, has links for visitors with Jewish, Catholic or Protestant
Clicking on the Protestant link, for instance, brings up a
subpage with links for a sample itinerary or information on how to
order a Protestant-themed travel kit.
Other links lead to sections on ecotourism, archaeology and spa
and health facilities in the Holy Land.
Artzi said the site upgraded its trip-planning section so that
users can check on currency conversion rates and temperatures.
The Ministry of Tourism has other enhancements on the drawing
Artzi said the site might be developed to handle bookings in the
future, but technological issues now are preventing such
functionality. She expects these problems to be ironed out before
long, and users will be able to book with Israeli hotels directly
through the site.