The Finance Ministry has transferred NIS 10 million to the Tourism Ministry in order to fund the latter's new campaign in Germany, which has already sparked an increase of 50% in tourists from that country entering Israel.
The grant was received after Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Shaul Tzemah requested that the Finance Ministry increase its advertising budget due to the continuing decline of the US dollar and the ministry's attempt to attract tourists from a foreign country other than the US, which currently holds first place for number of tourists visiting Israel and is also therefore the country in which the ministry invests most of its advertising funds.
The Tourism Ministry, in coordination with heads of the tourism industry, determined that the campaign should focus on a single country in Europe in order to reap the maximum amount of benefits from the newly granted budget. They chose Germany because the tourism emerging from this country has been steadily rising since the beginning of this year.
The campaign in Germany is scheduled to commence during the end of August, and to last until February. Its goal is to increase the level of tourism originating in the country to Israel, which has already increased by 50% since January of this year. The campaign is set to appear in newspapers, on the internet, in the religious media, and in health related publications in relation to the Dead Sea.
The campaign will also advertise Eilat, and for the first time in 15 years Germania Airlines will operate two commercial flights per week from Berlin and Düsseldorf directly to the southern city. The flights are set to begin operating in November with the support of the Tourism Ministry, which has also agreed to grant the airline a safety net for its actions.
Germany currently constitutes the third largest source of European tourism to Israel. In 2007 over 100,000 German tourists visited the country, a 13% rise from 2006. The first trimester of 2008 marked a 49% increase from the same time period of 2007, with 47,000 tourists coming in from Germany. The Tourism Ministry's goal is to raise the amount to 200,000 German tourists visiting Israel annually, beginning in 2010.