British travel agents were recently shocked to receive boxes of condoms handed out as part of a campaign to promote travel to Israel, during an event hosted by the Tourism Ministry in London.
The event, attended by representatives of the El-Al Airline, various Tel Aviv hotels and the Tel Aviv tourism foundation, as well as several British travel agents, was hosted with the objective of promoting a travel package to Israel focused on Tel Aviv.
As party favors, patrons leaving the event were given boxes of condoms bearing the motto 'come and visit Tel Aviv.' Some of the attendees were even told: Come to Tel Aviv and be satisfied.
"All of the British travel agents were appalled by this tasteless advertising tactic. Among the agents were many religious Jews who inquired whether this was the way that Israel was being marketed abroad," one of the travel agents complained.
Sources in the tourist industry said on Wednesday that the incident was scandalous. "The absurd part is that the condoms were packaged in fancy boxes used by one of the Dead Sea firms, usually to market beauty wares," one Tel Aviv tourist representative explained.
"Some of the agents thought that they were beauty supplies and brought them home to their wives. They were appalled when they opened the package. The Tourist Ministry representatives ruined all of our work," she said.
"This was an initiative contrary to our policy," read a Tourist Ministry statement in response to the incident. "We apologize to all those who were hurt. We will investigate the issue and deal with it accordingly."