Naama Oryan-Kaplan puts the case for IsraelThe Director, UK & Ireland, for Israel Tourism is Naama Oryan-Kaplan. Her message from their stand at The Meetings Show in London was: ‘People can’t really appreciate what Israel actually is and what we have to offer unless they visit our country. New visitors are always very pleasantly surprised’.
She also added that to do a recce round the whole country doesn’t require a long visit, because it is about the size of Wales and it is very easy to take in Haifa at one end and Eilat at the other. And, in between, experience the Dead Sea, geographically the lowest inhabited location on the planet, acres of orange groves, stretches of barren desert, modern beach resorts and the cultural treasures of many ancient faiths. From the coastal Tel Aviv – the Paris of the Middle East – to the hallowed city of Jerusalem in the hills is a 40 minutes drive.
‘Israel’ she goes on, ‘has thousands of years of traditional hospitality. It has a great climate, great food to suit all tastes and facilities for meetings of all sizes and for incentives with a wide range of themes.’
In addition to being proud of its ancient heritage, Israel is simultaneously proud of its modern technology and its track record of innovation.
‘That is why so many multi-national organisations have established research and development centres in Israel. We are a country of entrepreneurs and so foreign investors find that they can get the kind of managers and staff locally who will drive their projects forward. The population specialises in thinking out of the box.’
‘Event planners around the world, therefore’, suggests Naama, ‘can get added value for their conferences from the sectors in which Israel is very advanced. They include, for example, high tech, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and medicine.’
Personal safety is obviously a question that arises when discussing Israel as a MICE destination, but Naama obviously points out that there are unfortunately in today’s world dangers lurking in any country. ‘We have had 70 years experience in how to ensure personal safety, which to us is always paramount. People walk safely around at night in Tel Aviv and we have all always got on with our lives in a normal fashion. That is the only way to be’.