When do you think the figures for the arrival of tourists to Israel will compare to the good period that was during 2019, right before the COVID-19 virus?

The entry data into Israel shows that we are on the right track to breaking records. It seems that already this year we will pass the four million tourists. If we subtract from the data: Russia, Ukraine and China, which opened late after the COVID-19 and only recently to group tourism in Israel, we are at a smaller distance from the record year in 2019.

To which new destinations does the Ministry of Tourism allocate resources to bring in new tourists? China, Morocco, another country?

I marked the Asian market as the generator of the biggest change in the volume of tourism entering Israel. This is at the same time as our activity in the traditional countries, such as the USA, Great Britain, France and Germany. We will consider increasing investment in Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, in light of the increase in tourist arrivals from the countries.

Over the past two years, dozens of new hotel rooms have begun to be built, as well as new mergers are being observed on the hotel sector, which will lead to the construction of additional rooms. How many more hotel rooms are needed in Israel to meet the demand?

The Ministry of Tourism under my leadership has set a target of seven million tourists in 2030. For this purpose, an addition of approximately 12,000 rooms is required to the existing supply of 58,000 rooms. This year, another 3,941 rooms are expected to be added.

What are the three main goals of the Ministry of Tourism in the coming term in order to attract tourists from abroad?

I want to turn the tourism ministry into a leading and effective economic ministry. Along with improving the employment conditions of the employees, we become surveyors and set milestones for our projects. We are tightening the supervision of the infrastructure construction projects that the ministry is carrying out, while collecting matching from authorities that have paid and prevented progress in the projects for years. For the first time this year, we introduced into the TTP procedure, the stipulation that states that an authority that does not know how to carry out a project with clear milestones, and procrastinates in implementing the budget, the budget will be taken from it and transferred to the next in line.

Most of the Ministry of Tourism’s budget abroad is directed to attract tourists from the United States and the United Kingdom. Will the allocation of the budget change the order of priorities in favor of new or developing countries (for example, new countries with which we have relations in Africa, Dubai, etc.)?

The Ministry of Tourism becomes a measure. Starting in October, in-depth marketing research will begin with the aim of learning about existing and new markets so that we direct resources to the countries with the greatest potential. We are still investing in Dubai today. Israelis are flocking to the United Arab Emirates in droves, but tourism entering Israel is in the opposite direction. This is mainly due to a negative prejudice about Israel. The exposure of Israel in the media in Arab countries is mainly in a negative context and for years there was disinformation about us. Tourism is a bridge to peace, and I hope we will be able to see more tourists from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other countries with which we have strengthened ties in recent years. We will do our best for the issue.