The Tourism Ministry is seeking to turn Israel into a destination for cycling tourism, mainly extreme sport tourism, as part of the country's efforts to develop new tourism channels and in light of the huge increase in cycling tourism around the world.
Eight journalists, six men and two women, from leading cycling magazines and websites will arrive in Israel this week. The eight, who are professional cyclists, will arrive with their private bicycles and take an extreme road trip from Jerusalem to Eilat through the Dead Sea and Mitzpe Ramon.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry is launching a campaign on the Eurosport television channel which aims to present Israel as a destination for extreme sport tourism. The campaign, which costs some NIS 5 million (about $1.40 million), will include news updates ("spots") about a bicycle competition in the Negev, a marathon in Jerusalem, extreme tourism in the desert, and more.
According to Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevy, "Cycling tourism is a fast-developing field all over the world. While in Europe there are few hours of light and it's cold, Israel has optimal conditions: A bright and pleasant weather most days of the year, and an infrastructure of tracks against the background breathtaking landscapes.
"If an island like Majorca can attract more than 80,000 cyclists every year, there is no reason why Israel shouldn't succeed in bringing at least that number, especially while Europe is frozen."