Pini Shani, Israel Ministry of Tourism

Pini Shani, Israel Ministry of Tourism

Israel’s variety is key to its appeal to UK travellers. History, culture and heritage are part of that. So too are vibrant LGBTQ+ and gastronomy scenes. The country’s varying terrains support adventure activities ranging from scuba diving, through cycling to simply enjoying nature. It offers winter sunshine and year-round warmth, and the flight time is similar to travelling to Tenerife.

“Amongst the many popular destinations in Israel are Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Negev and Eilat. Each of these destinations offer up something entirely different to tourists and visitors. Tel Aviv is known as the cosmopolitan capital of Israel, with its numerous beautiful beaches, buzzing nightlife and leading gastronomy scene,” said Pini Shani, the Senior Deputy Director General – Marketing at the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

“Jerusalem, on the other hand, offers up a different kind of visit, with a vast historical background and extensive culture and heritage. The traditional architecture of Jerusalem attracts artists and religious pilgrims from all around the world, looking to immerse themselves in the Holy Land, whilst Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus inspiration attracts a young and trendy crowd,” he continued.

“Eilat, located at the southern tip of the Negev Desert, tends to attract visitors of a more adventurous nature, as well as those looking for a seaside break in the sun. With its extensive marine life and beautiful waters, tourists are often enticed by the opportunities for deep-sea diving in the Red Sea or swimming with dolphins. Similarly, the Negev region, which is composed of the Eilat Mountains and sweeping desert, offers cycling, trekking and hiking trails, as well as the opportunity to explore wildlife and archaeology in the region’s multiple nature reserves and national parks,” he added.

What’s new?

The Israeli airline, El Al, will start direct flights between Dublin and Tel Aviv on 26 March.

Several new hotel and cultural projects are planned in 2023. An extensive Dead Sea hotel project has been announced, with plans for new accommodation on islands and peninsulas. That will add to recent openings including the five-star David Kempinski in Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights floating guesthouse on Lake Ram (near Mount Hermon) and three new Browns Hotels in Tel Aviv.

Culturally engaged travellers can look forward to the opening of the Albert Einstein Museum in Jerusalem and a new visitor centre in Tel Megiddo National Park. Following extensive renovation, The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is due to reopen in March with eight new galleries and new interactive displays.

Why sell Israel?

“Israel is a mid-haul destination that is yet to be truly uncovered by British travellers. With a swathe of new hospitality projects launching in the coming years, the accommodation offering is finally set to match the plethora of activities and holidays that Israel offers. From hiking and cycling to snorkelling and diving, from city break to wellness holiday, the new rise in hospitality provides an increase in access to the activities on offer across the destination,” says Shani of why now is the right time to market holidays in Israel.

Typical stays in Israel vary from between 4 to 14 nights. Longer stays are ideal for experiencing the country’s different regions and attractions. Yet as a mid-haul destination, visitors can easily enjoy a Tel Aviv city break, a twin-city break, or a seaside resort break for four or five nights.

Israel’s history and culture have broad appeal. The county’s buzzing gastronomy and nightlife scenes tend to appeal to younger travellers. The Eilat Mountains and the Red Sea provide adventure-based travel options. The seaside city of Eilat is optimal for family time while the Dead Sea is ideal for travellers interested in wellness-themed breaks.

Sustainable tourism

“Social and environmental sustainability is a consistent thread in Israeli culture. Israel has a number of collective and cooperative communities that practice organic farming, recycling and host programmes in eco-tourism. Kibbutz Lotan in the Arava Valley is a kibbutz founded by American immigrants to Israel who have taken the lead in showing Israelis and tourists how to create environmentally gentle, sustainable desert communities, organic farming and architecture based on natural and recycled materials,” commented Shani. Together with the neighbouring Yahel and Ketura kibbutzim, Lotam has established programmes of desert eco-study, eco-hikes, birding, meditation and relaxation.

Information and training

“We’ve now launched our new e-learning program with Travel Uni that covers all the basics you need to know to sell Israel with confidence,” commented Shani about training that can be found at israeltravelexpert.com.

“Understanding that Israel has it all is key to understanding this destination. Whether tourists are looking for sun, city, wellness or activity, Israel has the answer to everything, and is the perfect place to combine all of these into one getaway,” he added about his country.


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