Monday, May 11, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israeli Minister of Tourism: 'Pilgrims instead of Models'

by David Bedein

Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov, has informed the media that he plans to take advantage of the Pope’s visit to Israel and focus his ministry’s marketing on bringing pilgrims to the country.

He says he intends to bring in Catholic pilgrims and Evangelical Christians to Israel.

“Past tourism ministers made a mistake when they tried to market Israel as a vacation destination by showing Israel’s beaches and beautiful young women.

“Ministers who focused on photographing models, or on being photographed with them, thought that this would bring tourists to Israel.

“But their mistake was that our neighbors also have pretty young women and beaches, and we can’t compete with them in terms of the prices that they offer for vacation packages,” the minister said.

Mr. Misezhnikov was referring to the recent disastrous campaign of the Israel Ministry of Tourism that featured Israel’s bathing beauties, some of whom gave extensive interviews to the international media where they expressed their lack of patriotism to the State of Israel.

Meeting more than 100 reporters who have come to Israel to cover the Papal visit, Mr. Misezhnikov said: “What Israel needs to do is focus on what we have and others don’t, or, in other words, the Holy Land. Israel is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and also to Islam, and the Tourism Ministry’s current focus is to market Israel as the Holy Land. I hope that the Pope, who will be... visiting Israel soon, will call upon Catholic believers to come to Israel, and I intend to do everything I can to take full advantage of this visit. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism will work together with Evangelical communities all over the world in order to increase the number of their visitors to Israel.”

See this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this story at Israel Behind the News

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