Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will soon add another role to his impressive resume – that of tour guide.
The prime minister has been taking part in an international project to promote Israeli tourism through the international TV show 'The Royal Tour' where heads of state present their country's major tourist sites.
Netanyahu began filming for the show on Saturday in Rosh Hanikra in northern Israel. Throughout the week the prime minister will climb to the top of Masada, will visit Jerusalem's Old City, tour Eilat and highlight Tel Aviv's nightlife.
The show's producers also agreed to Netanyahu's request and will accompany him to the Technion Institute of Technology in order to give them a glimpse of the technological developments that Israeli scientists are responsible for, such as the camera pill, the nano-bible and the robot snake.
Netanyahu will be presenting Israel's main tourist sites from a different angle to millions of viewers worldwide.
Tour guide Bibi (Photo: GPO)
The Royal Tour is a TV show hosted by Peter Greenberg, a US journalist who is well known for his tourism shows. Greenberg has toured Jordan with King Abdullah II, Mexico with the Mexican president, New Zealand with the prime minister and others. Following the show's episode focusing on Mexico, the number of tourists to Mexico grew by more than 10%.
The tourism Ministry estimates that each tourist provides Israel with a $1,200 income and the goal is to increase the number of tourists by 200,000 – thanks to the TV show, which would mean an additional NIS 1 billion ($260 million) income from tourism. Israel's income from tourism was NIS 35 billion ($9 billion) in 2011.
Tourism Ministry statistics show that the US is where the majority of tourists come from and also, the number one audience of the Royal Tour which is shown on the PBS network.
The show's production team arrived in Israel over the weekend with 900 kilograms of equipment and numbers 25 people.
Netanyahu and Greenberg at Rosh Hanikra (Photo: GPO)
Greenberg told Netanyahu that this was an opportunity to see Israel through the prime minister's eyes and that Netanyahu would act as a tour guide for over 300 million viewers worldwide.
The prime minister said in response that they would see Tel Aviv, the future, the high tech and that Israel was a country of fun.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov noted that the ministry had worked towards having Peter's show visit Israel for years and finally, they would get the opportunity. He noted that if the results were as expected then for each extra 100,000 tourists that visit Israel there would be 4,000 new jobs and NIS 450 million for the state.