The Tourism Ministry has switched gears a bit in its current advertising campaign in Europe as it promotes Israel as a tourist destination. It’s based on the assumption that, although Israel has a wealth of historic sites and unique landscapes to offer the tourist, what many people are looking for when planning a vacation is sun and beaches, which Israel also has in abundance.
The ministry said tens of millions of Europeans have seen the ministry’s campaign featuring the 1960s hit song “Sunny” and touting Israel as a sunny destination and highlighting its two largest cities, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The television version of the campaign has been seen by about 60 million people in about a dozen countries and it has been clicked on by 13.5 million internet users, the Tourism Ministry said, leading 1.5 million of them to click through to information on tourism packages in Israel.
The campaign, which has so far cost the ministry about 25 million shekels ($7 million) in European television advertising costs with at least another 50 million shekels more to be spent in Europe this year, is now being expanded on television and video on demand to the Western Hemisphere at a cost of about 50 million shekels. The ministry expects it to be seen by another 90 million people in the Western Hemisphere.
All of this in made possible by a record-high 445 million shekel promotional budget that the ministry received for 2018. It follows a major boost that Tourism Minister Yariv Levin managed to obtain in recent years in promoting Israel. He was able to double the promotional budget from 220 million in 2015 to 440 million shekels in 2016, funding that was renewed at the same level last year.
The ministry said the shift in marketing strategy and the additional investment have proved themselves. An all-time record high 3.6 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2017, up 25% from the year before, the ministry said, and spending by foreign tourists increased by 4 billion shekels last year.