Monday, September 23, 2013

Minister plans 'Taglit' for Christians

Ziv Reinstein for ynetnews

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau comes up with creative way to increase number of incoming tourists: Birthright-style trips to Israel for Christian youth. But who will fund project?

New Tourism Minister Uzi Landau seems to have found a solution for increasing the number of tourists arriving in Israel. Like his predecessor, Stas Misezhnikov, his plan involves the Evangelical Christian population – but focuses on the younger generation.

In a press conference held in Tel Aviv ahead of the Jewish New Year, the minister said his future plans for increasing the volume of tourism to Israel included an initiative to conduct a Taglit-style journey for young Evangelicals.

"The Christians have a problem with their next generation too," the minister explained. "We are looking to get closer to this public in order to generate tourism and support for Israel when they return to their homeland, become our ambassadors and view Israel not through CNN's eyes."

According to Landau, who took office about five months ago, the ministry he heads focuses on digital marketing "in order to concentrate on certain target groups we believe in," as opposed to financial investment in marketing Israel worldwide.

"We won't be able to invest $50 million and more in the coming year to brand the State of Israel, as suggested by the Ernst & Young consulting company," he said, adding that he was looking for other alternatives.

The Taglit (Birthright Israel) project, which began in 1999, is a Zionist initiative by the Jewish Agency and Jewish communities in the Diaspora, which aims to take Jews who have never visited Israel on a 10-day tour of the Jewish state and bring them closer to their roots and to the State. The project is funded by philanthropists.

"We won't be able to invest in the project," the minister says in regards to the Christian "Taglit" project, "but one of the ideas raised in the meeting I held on the matter was that the community itself would fund the journey."

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