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Автор: 11.02.2015 | Israel
On February 10-11 Tel Aviv hosts International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) 2015. Held under the auspices of Israel Ministry of Tourism, the event annually features exhibitors representing every aspect of Israel’s tourism market including offers of local travel operators and agencies, hotels, airlines, sightseeing and tailor-made trips, spa resorts, entertainment opportunities and a wide range of health-caring services.

The Opening Ceremony began with a welcoming speech by Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Tourism Mr. Amir Halevi. In his speech he emphasized the fact that 2015 is Israel's Ministry of Tourism 50th anniversary year and over the time the Ministry has have done a huge work that clearly endorsed Israel as a buoyant and growing touristic region annually attracting more and more visitors from all over the world.

Mr. Halevi also noted that the main stream of tourists is inextricably linked with attendance of religious shrines. Nevertheless, today's task of the state authorities is to promote Israel not only as an area for pilgrimage, but also as a country rich in historical monuments, natural location, excellent for wellness or cultural tourism, lucrative gastronomic and eco-tours.

Solemnity of the event was increased by awarding diplomas to individuals who introduced a number of innovations and made outstanding contributions to the development of recreational infrastructure in Israel. In particular, the company Nazareth Trail was praised for organizing sightseeing and educational tours to the town of Nazareth. Tribute was paid to the organizers of the international festival Red Sea Jazz Festival founded in 1987, its closing is traditionally held in the resort area of South Eilat located on the Red Sea coast. Belskii spouses were honoured with special applauses for their Arezi Hotel in town of Metula.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism also prepared an introductory presentation on the brightest and most significant aspects of the modern country development and its tourist attractions. Remarkably, according to the UN Human Development Index, Israel ranks 19 among 187 countries. This fact rightly attributes the state to "very highly developed" level. It is noteworthy that Israel provides an excellent platform for start-ups: about 2 500 of them are being on the stages of development and implementation.

The official part of the IMTM 2015 was visited by the representatives of the diplomatic corps and foreign missions accredited in Israel, as well as top managers of the profiled companies and the press. Our chief editor Darya Karyakina was also guest of the fair; she shares her impressions of the event:

The Exhibition Hall was completely filled with the fair participants and visitors. Israeli companies were presenting their services telling about the huge tourism potential of the country, revealing the cultural, historical, natural, and even gastronomic diversity of Israel. Among them are Biankini-Dead Sea, Ananey Communications, Haifa Tourist Board, Herzliya Municipal Tourism Development Corporation, Israel Youth Hotels Association. Caterers of various delicacies encouraged guests to enjoy all kinds of sweets and wine from the best manufacturers.

For instance, Nazareth based company Mahroum Sweets in the fourth generation, since 1980, has manufactured Middle Eastern desserts such as baklava, Turkish delight, halva. In addition to partnering, exhibitors learnt about various cultural events that take place in Israel throughout the year! Everyone interested was invited to visit the Opera Festival, a large-scale event held in summer in Masada. Surprisingly, the country has seven running marathons, among which some are quite unusual, for instance, a 90-kilometer route which continuously goes up the stairs...

It was impossible to walk past the display where ladies wearing elaborately hand-embroidered dresses were the same skilfully advertising trendy tours to learn life, customs and traditions of the Bedouins. Mariam Abo Rkiik, a Desert Daughter representative, told that today many people are willing to experience the Bedouins’ life, their daily routines, authentic cuisine and life style. For that the guests of such villages may even overnight with the Bedouin family, and spend at least a few days being a part of this nation.

Fair organizers noted that over the past couple of years tourists to Israel got much "younger" and now their average age is 25 years! This audience requires diversity in their holiday: active sports, nightlife, original and thematic hotels, restaurants and cafes. They focus on spending weekends in the capital.

OUTLOOK had a conversation with Irene Levine who told us about the unique Israeli city of Jaffa - one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world, which is now merged with capital:

"The town is more than four thousand years old. And as a populated area, Jaffa has existed for two thousand eight hundred years. And we explain how you can spend time in the town, tours to be booked, and spots to be watched first. Jaffa is a mix of various cultures and peoples, so we offer an opportunity to touch its historical component."

Specials offer for those young and active has Dr. Chaim Berger from the firm Negev Jeep:

"IMTM 2015 is a great chance to tell its visitors about the Negev Mountains, which occupy 20 per cent of the country territory. This very area is a home for the same name desert excellent for studying wildlife and unique plants, the Bedouins settlements. The region can boast with its well developed infrastructure and high level of service. Prices also vary: there are both premium hotels and campgrounds to choose. Well, the most romantic thing about the Negev desert is an opportunity to admire stars. There is no better place..."

In conjunction with the exhibition, the event participants from different countries, including the National Agency for Tourism of Belarus, the Cyprus Tourism Organization and others also touted their holiday destination. There were promoted the key pilgrimage and esoteric routes to Nepal, the top popular routes of Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Delegations from Morocco, the Dominican Republic, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Serbia, and Spain partake in the event! It should be noted that many showcases were devoted to carriers: Israeli EL AL Airlines, also a partner of the event, Air Berlin, Air Mauritius, Arkia Israeli Airlines, AirBaltic, Ukrainian MAU and other.

The IMTM 2015 was highlighted by active participation of foreign embassies.

"This exhibition is very important for us since it enables us to represent our country and its capabilities. We want people to know and come to see Finland, a country of clean air and lakes with crystal clear water; Lapland, a winter tourist-favourite spot! We would like the world to know how we are developing our architecture and design. Now in the winter we invite you to have a ride on Husky sledge and icebreakers. This is a unique attraction that is available almost exclusively in our country!"

The Embassy of Sweden in Israel was represented by Mrs. Anne-Catherine Skrek who gladly distributed touristic leaflets and guides to everyone planning to include the Kingdom in itinerary. In her words, tourists often come to Sweden when touring Scandinavia. "Priority is to attract young travellers. One of must-see places is, of course, awesome Stockholm."

Summarizing our review, we would like to point out that IMTM as a premier exhibition providing visitors and tourism professionals with an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues, buyers and suppliers, to exchange experiences, develop existing routes and create new ones after studying demand!

The internet edition would like to express many thanks and gratitude to the Israel Ministry of Tourism, its Ukrainian Representative Office and personally to Anna Serokurova and Larissa Samoylovich, as well as to the Embassy of Israel in Ukraine, and personally to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Eli Belotsercovsky. 

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