14 May 2012
UNITED STATES TOUR OPERATORS ASSOCIATION TO HOLD ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN ISRAEL
AS GUESTS OF THE TOURISM MINISTRY
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov:
“The organization’s choice of Israel as the venue for their annual
conference represents a vote of confidence in the Israeli tourism industry.”
The United States Tour Operators Association http://www.ustoa.com/2009/
(USTOA) will hold its annual conference in Israel in 2013 as guests of the
Tourism Ministry. USTOA, which is considered the largest tourism wholesalers
association in the States, includes among its members leading tourism
personalities. The decision to hold the conference in Israel was taken
during the February 2012 meeting between the Tourism Minister and the
organization’s management during the minister’s working visit to the States.
The last time USTOA held its annual conference in Israel was in 1995.
Leading figures in the tourism industry and tourism wholesalers from the
States are expected to attend the conference in April 2013 in order to
familiarize themselves with Israel’s tourism product and be exposed to the
many visiting options available in Israel. The delegation will meet with the
Tourism Minister and senior figures in the tourism and financial industries,
as well as leading tourism wholesalers in Israel in order to strengthen
bilateral tourism relations. Some of the leading USTOA members include
Abercrombie and Kent; Adventures by Disney; Cox & Kings; Lindblad Travel and
Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov: “The organization’s choice of Israel
as the venue for their annual conference represents a vote of confidence in
the Israeli tourism industry and in the quality of Israel’s tourism product.
The massive annual marketing investment by the Tourism Ministry in the
States – about NIS 60 million – continues to bear fruit.” The Tourism
Minister, who initiated the idea of the conference taking place in Israel
during his meeting with USTOA leaders in February, added that strengthening
tourism ties between the two countries will lead to an increase in the
number of visitors to Israel while improving Israel’s image overseas.
This powerful encounter between influential tourism wholesalers from the
United States with Israel’s tourism product is another example of the
thousands of journalists, opinion formers, celebrities and senior tourism
officials from around the world who are hosted by the Israel Tourism
Ministry. These visits generate positive media coverage of Israel as a
tourism destination, worth hundreds of thousands of shekel.
In 2011, 600,000 tourists visited Israel from the United States, the largest
source country for incoming tourism. About a third come to Israel for
pilgrimage purposes, while 24% arrive for tourism and sight-seeing. The
average American tourist spends 12 nights in Israel, spending about $1800.
Revenue from incoming tourism from the States reached about NIS 4 million in
Foreign Press Adviser to the Ministry of Tourism