More than 400 participants attended the annual convention of the Incoming Tour Operators Association held at the Tel Aviv Hilton on July 31, including  leading figures from Israel’s tourism industry senior officials and interior ministries. Among scheduled speakers of the day, Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai remarked upon the increase in tourism to Israel, which he attributed in part to events such as the Pride Parade, Maccabiah Games and conferences, while Amir Hayek, president of the Israel Hotels Association, addressed the room on issues concerning the hotel industry, including workers and regulation.

Yossi Fatael, director general of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, discussed various tourism forecasts, which predict a doubling of tourism traffic across the world, and expressed his optimism in Israeli economic growth in line with tourism development and an investment in infrastructure, and Director General of the Israel Ministry of Tourism Minister Amir Halevy provided an insider look at developments from the ministry’s perspective.

Shmuel Marom served as chairman of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association for the past 18 years, before retiring recently, iceand an organized event took place to honor his industry service. Addressing those gathered to pay him tribute Marom said: “Israel needs to plan for at least 20 years ahead, and perhaps even a generation ahead. We need an infrastructure of airports, tour guides and hotels to help us reach eight million tourists a year, and we have to connect with changes that are happening in tourism.”

Danny Amir, of Vered Hasharon, has been elected as the new IITOA chairman. In addition, the new management are: Alaa Afifi, Nazarene Tours; Carlos Arlowski, Keli Tours; Noam Eshed, CTO; Lior Gelfand, Ortra; Oni Amiel, Amiel Tours; Kurt Kaufman, Genesis; Shaanan Kraus, Isram Israel; Israel Rodrigue, Ofakim; Kfir Schwartz, Ahalan Olympus.