The tourism industry is the second-fastest-growing in the world before the Covid-19 outbreak that claimed lives, crashed the economy, and affect the growth of tourism.
Global tourism suffered a setback because millions of tourism workers are jobless right now due to the pandemic, airlines have grounded nearly two-thirds of their planes, and cruise ships are docked but gradually bouncing back.
Nira Fisher is a Director of International Relations, Ministry of Tourism in Israel with vast experience having worked 11 years in the Ministry of Tourism, worked for 12 years in the hotel industry, served 5 years as the Tourism Console of Israel to the Nordic Countries and 18 months in my current position as Director of International Relations.
Born and lived her whole life in Jerusalem. Nira bagged a Master’s degree in Tourism Management which has broadened her experience is in marketing tourism overseas.
Nira discussed with ADEWALE ADENRELE when tourism will return to normality and the selling point of Israel which is the Holy Land, Jerusalem, and the Sea of Galilee.
Below are excerpts:
As the Director of International Relations, Ministry of Tourism, how long precisely do you think global travel will resume to its normal pace?
We estimate that it will take at least till 2024 to return to normality. Maybe not the full numbers of 2019, but things will start to look normal and in good numbers.
In tourism, we have aspects of tourism like educational tourism, religious tourism, medical tourism which area has Israel selling point of tourism to the world?
The main thing Israel is known for is being the Holy Land. Jerusalem, Nazareth, and the Sea of Galilee are unique to Israel. Adding to that is the beaches, the weather; the reach culinary brings Israel to be something that any tourist want to visit at one point in life.
Can you tell us the major attractions in Israel?
The 3000 years of history in the bible are the main attractions and you cannot skip the old city of Jerusalem or be in the lowest place on earth – the Dead Sea.
Early 2020 before the pandemic outbreak, the tourism celebrated a record year for traffic. Now, it’s decimated and facing a recovery that could be time. Can you tell us how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected travel and tourism industry?
As in any other country the pandemic stopped inbound tourism to Israel for almost two years. We depended a lot on domestic tourism. We tried our best to support the tourism industry in grants and education options.
The pandemic affects millions of people who depend on tourism were laid off or furloughed. How do you think tourism can bounce back and survive?
This is a free market and the ones that are giving good service and value for the money will be the ones leading the entire industry out of the crisis.
Many destinations anticipate travelers’ behavior will change in the virus’s wake. What have measures are in place to sensitize and educate potential tourists/travelers to erase the fear of covid-19?
From our checks, we know that the new traveler will look for places that are not so crowded and ore into the nature experience. We are developing the rural area of Israel to be ready for foreign tourists.
African Development Magazine would like to partner Ministry of tourism in Israel for coverage of tourism activities, would you support this development and give us a chance?
I am sorry but the African market, for now, is not our main market and we are holding all investment in that market to 2024 at least.
Thanks for sharing with African Development Magazine.
Thank you and welcome.