Is Israel Safe to Visit?

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Please note that this is not a political post and this site remains unpolitical. It is aimed at giving useful information to travellers and cannot be relied upon totally as the situation is constantly developing.

In light of the recent developments in the Gaza Strip, the question running through the minds of many people planning to visit Israel is whether it is still safe?

The answer, you will be pleased to hear, is that yes it is.

The affected area in Israel is about a 30 mile radius of the Gaza Strip. It isnt an area which many tourists visit anyway, and there really isnt much on the site which recommends visiting this area.

The US, UK and Australian governments, as well as many others, keep citizens up to date with travel advice on their sites. At the moment, there is no change in the general level of advice in travelling to Israel from any of these governments.

We follow the advice which is clearly posted on these sites, and advise that you continue to check here, links can be found at the bottom of this post. We feel that it is important though, to remember that you are still safer in Israel at a time like this than in almost anywhere in the USA in a statistical sense.

The links:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1064.html
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Israel_Gaza_Strip_and_West_Bank
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/israel-occupied

We hope you continue to plan and look forward to your visit to Israel, where we hope you'll have a really cool time!

Tel Aviv Does it Again

Friday, 19 December 2008

Tel Aviv has, like the rest of Israel, seen record incoming tourism this year. And its going to get better...

Each year the ultra-cool Conde Nast concierge.com, names its 'It List' of the places which in two years time will be on the tip of your tongue. In other words, the next mega-cool travel destination. And you've guessed it, not only did Tel Aviv, make it onto the list, but it topped it.

You can see the full story here: http://www.concierge.com/ideas/hotspots/articles/500184?page=1

Have fun, and be cool in Israel

First Flights to South America

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Second post of the day, wow!


They say news comes in phases, and we have just heard some more great news, El Al is starting flights next year to Sao Paulo, Brazil. These will be the only direct flights operating between the continent of South America and Israel, and comes at a time when airlines are generally cutting back their networks rather than expanding them. Adding the 14 and a half hour flights shows that Israel is bucking the trend, and attracting people from across the world seeking a cool, historic, and culturally astute destination.

The only continent left to serve is Australasia - and we sure hope it will come soon - we can tell that loads of people want it!

So if you're coming from South America or anywhere else for that matter, be cool in Israel

Tel Aviv: The New Place to Be

Tel Aviv has finally got the buzz. We all know its a great city but why now? This article from Ynetnews tackles these questions about the Tel Aviv brand, which is clearly associated with cool!

It is somewhat out of the ordinary for the New York Times Travel section to devote three feature articles to a single city within a three-month span. It would be even more surprising if the pieces focused on a city other than the world’s established tourist capitals. Yet, it has happened - to Tel Aviv.

Last month, the Times devoted an additional article to Tel Aviv, noting that it has become one of the world’s cultural capitals, especially for the plastic arts. This article joins a stream of pieces, published during the past year in leading American newspapers and magazines, which paint Israel - particularly Tel Aviv - as the “next hot destination” for culture, lifestyle, tourism, fashion, and architecture.

Why Tel Aviv? Why right now? There’s no one easy answer. Instead, a number of factors have contributed together, the most important being a realization that the city delivers on - and even exceeds - the promise that its brand name conjures up.

Those of us responsible for promoting Israel’s image currently face a dilemma: Do we invest our limited financial resources in improving American public opinion, which already recognizes and values Israeli culture and lifestyle? Or, are we better off devoting these resources to locales where our national image takes a beating on a daily basis?

This dilemma takes on greater significance during a period like the present economic downturn. Many of the organizations that have helped us previously are themselves facing a crisis and have cut back on their contributions until the storm passes. These organizations allowed us to work not only in the field of public diplomacy, but also in promoting topics that portray Israel as a normal, vibrant, and modern society.

The coming year marks Tel Aviv’s centennial, an occasion that provides an outstanding opportunity to cover the city’s cultural and lifestyle offerings. To those responsible for Israel’s image, Tel Aviv represents much of what we want the world to know about us, but of which many remain unaware: The city is cosmopolitan, multicultural, trendy, chic, modern, intellectual, young, and open.

A successful brand has two elements: “trend” and “buzz.” The meaning of these concepts is simple: In order for a branding project to succeed, people need to talk about it (“buzz”). As more people discuss the brand positively, the brand name gains enough traction to exist on its own (“trend”).

The same thing is true about the “Tel Aviv” brand. The city is already on the world map. The current challenge is to keep people talking; journalists need to keep up the stream of articles, and leading cultural and lifestyle figures need to continue visiting. Only by amplifying the “trend” and “buzz” around the brand name of Tel Aviv can we ensure that at some future point the city - and thereby Israel as a whole - will become a brand name that can stand on its own.

In addition, an investment in the “Tel Aviv” brand name at the present time can also bear fruit in the short term. Our target audience is the “sophisticated segment.” Members of this population sector have high buying power and are constantly searching for new and promising destinations for tourism, culture, and lifestyle. Members of this “sophisticated segment” have maintained their lifestyles and remain consumers of all forms of culture, despite the economic crisis.

Our hope is that a day will come when the City that Never Stops will join the ranks of cities like Paris and London, which need no reinforcement of their status as global cultural capitals. It is imperative upon those to whom Israel’s image is important to bring the innovation, creativity, and culture that characterize Israeli society to the attention of the public the world over.


Until next time, be cool in israel

A New Ski Resort for Israel

Monday, 15 December 2008

A new indoor ski resort is being built in Israel!

The resort is at the foot of Mount Gilboa in the Galilee and will have 320 meters of illuminated ski tracks, a cable car, a ski school for children and adults and a commercial center.

What's more is that it will be open all year round from...late 2009!

Here's the picture provided by the developers, although here it looks like its outdoors!


It looks really cool and we just cant believe it will be open from next year! They say it will also be open at night and the summer!

Wow, we really will be cool in Israel!

How about more!

Friday, 5 December 2008

What is the point of a site if we are the only ones contributing?

Im currently working on selecting the best places to eat and stay in Israel...we have our opinions, but what are yours... If you have any, please let me know (contact@touristisrael.com)! Especially in Tel Aviv where there are soooo many good places to eat, we just cant pick out which are best - its a big problem!

Also, if you have any ideas for anything on the site let me know please!

In other news, Israel has officially had a record year for tourism. Zach Braff and Ben Stiller have been here in the last two weeks, and the Pope is planning his trip here for May, so what are you waiting for!

Until next time, be cool in Israel!

Big News - (No You Aren't Seeing Things!)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

I am sorry to keep talking about the site but something very exciting has happened.

I've had a number of pieces of feedback over the past weeks about the orange text color. It looks cool on some screens and terrible on others! I decided, therefore to take a big step out and change the text to purple. These changes will be made across the site over the next few days. I would like to get feedback on this as well though!

In other news, we've just heard that Delta are, in these times of economic trouble, adding four flights a week from JFK to Tel Aviv - we must be doing something right, Israel wouldnt be getting this if it wasnt cool!

Tourists are flocking to Israel and any help you can give us to help them to be cool there would be great!

Thanks for reading, and I promise there'll be some more exciting developments both on the site and travel in Israel, over the next days...

Until next time,

be cool in israel!

We're out of beta! And other site news

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Yes, thats right, we've decided that the site has got to the stage where we can move out of our beta stages. We are now up and running!

Over the past few weeks we've been working hard to add to the site in content and functionability - we now have a feedback forum on the side of the page, and would love it if you would give us some feedback either through that or by email. What are we doing right, what are we doing wrong, and what should we be doing? We will try to incorporate all your feedback into developing the site. We might be out of beta but we are nowhere near finished!

At the same time, we hav added pages to the site, such as the jeep tours and watersports pages. There is more to come, but again, if there is a page you want, let us know and we'll do our best to get it live very soon.

We've also seen partnerships with other sites rise astronomically over the past few weeks, with more sites taking advantage of our free advertising offer and others simply exchanging links with us. If you would like to do either or something else with us, let us know, and we'll find a way to work with you. If you have a blog, consider linking to us from your blogroll!...please! Remember though, we arent a commercial site, but are just trying to cover our operating costs!

So until next time,

Be Cool in Israel

World's Largest Hummus Dish!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Tel Aviv is turning 100 next year, and the Israeli tourism association decided to kick off their celebrations in an innovative way. They created the largest hummus dish in the world at the World Travel Market fayre in London. The plate was 924 pounds and had a diameter of 13.8 feet!

How did they get such a big plate? They built it on a strengthened trampoline!

There's some food for thought!

Until next time


be cool in Israel

Any Russians Reading?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Anyone lucky enough to come from the city of Moscow (keep reading, I havent gone mad!) will soon be able to get a highly subsidized trip to the Dead Sea. The city of Moscow is building a $100million resort hotel on the shores of the lowest place on earth, for the benefit of its citizens. The Dead Sea's the waters and minerals have healing properties so this will be a 'medical venture' but its a pretty cool venture!

Be cool in Israel

Tel Aviv's Eclectic Avenues

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Its rare for the British media to talk about Israel in a non-political sense. The Financial Times have just published a cool article about the eclectic architecture of 'the Mediterranean capital of cool.'

Widely overlooked between Tel Aviv's Bauhaus White City and glass skyscrapers, eclectic architecture is very prominent in the southern side of the city, including Neve Tzedek, and interesting real estate in restored eclectic buildings is in greater demand than Bauhaus.

If you're in Tel Aviv, be sure to keep an eye out for this mix of architectural styles from the early 20th century.

Find the full article here

Enjoy

Be cool in Israel

Is Tel Aviv an Art Center?

Saturday, 1 November 2008

The New York Times seems to think its getting there...

An article published today suggests that Tel Aviv is beginning to rival London and New York as one of the world's art centers, but, like everything else, Tel Aviv is doing so in its own way.

Contemporary galleries have sprung up across the city over the last five years or so with an incredibly high quality of work. Israeli artists who have been very successful globally are now able to see success at home...great!

With so many contemporary galleries around, its so hard to recommend. Some of our favourites are on the site, but what are yours? Let us know!

Wow - 2008 sets a record!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Israel has seen 2.3 million tourists arrive between January and September, and the Tourism Ministry believes that they will reach their target of 2.8 million tourists.

This is, wait for it, a 38% increase on last year!

AND...

There will be direct flights to Eilat this winter, from Germany, France, England, Russia, Poland and Finland. So Eilat can easily be a destination in itself.

So until next time, be cool in Israel

To Fly El Al - What an Airline

Thursday, 23 October 2008

El Al, Israels national airline is celebrating its 60th birthday. Here's what the Jerusalem Post had to say.

Some of El Al's perks are industry firsts. The most outstanding one to date was inaugurated in 2002 on behalf of a wealthy New York couple who visit Israel at least four times a year, each time bringing their two cats with them. The airline decided to allow small dogs, cats and birds who indeed had tickets - $89 one-way from New York, Chicago or Miami and $98 from Los Angeles - to collect frequent flyer miles and gain a free trip along with their owners.


One of the most unforgettable humanitarian gestures to which El Al was a part took place on Flight 316 from Tel Aviv to London: Among the passengers was Moran Kadosh, 4, on her way to London for a liver transplant. The child was accompanied by a doctor and her parents - who had a mere $4,500 in their pockets to finance surgery. When the child's plight became known to fellow passengers and El Al flight employees, they organized a spontaneous collection at 35,000 feet. The captain announced over the public address system that Moran's life was in danger. By the time the jumbo landed at Heathrow, 400 passengers and crew had gathered the $60,000 needed to pay for the transplant.


Read the whole article here

Do we need a Chinese version of Tourist Israel?

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Israel is now approved by the Chinese government as a tourist destination. This means that it is now easier for Israel to recieve incoming tourists from China and for Chinese to travel to Israel.

Whilst El Al already operate to China, Air China have said they might start flights to Tel Aviv - great news!

If just half of one percent of Chinese visit Israel, its almost 7 million visitors!

New York Times Showcases Adventure Tourism in Israel

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

It is very refreshing to see any travel reviews of Israel in the international press. It is even more refreshing to see them focus on 'different travel stores' such as the New York Times who recently wrote about outdoor, adventure tourism.

DURING a recent trip to Israel, deep yoga breaths came in handy as I tried to control my anxiety. My fear wasn’t related to political danger, but rather, it was the kind of fright you feel when you are dangling from a rope on the side of a steep canyon of the Judean Desert.
See more at this link.

TIME magazine also featured something quite cool - a unique spa treatment - carried out by snakes! Perhaps this is a bit way out to include on our site, but please see the video here...

Happy surfing

Paul McCartney in Israel

Saturday, 27 September 2008

It's been a really busy few weeks here at Tourist Israel. The site has launched and is growing in popularity and size! We have more additions to make over the next few weeks, so keep checking back!

For those of you who didnt know, this week marked Paul McCartney's first concert in Israel. He played on Thursday at Tel Aviv's HaYarkon Park to about 50,000. Whilst Israel has previously hosted acts including the likes of Madonna, there was something special about this one, with huge media interest across the world.

This concert has definetely added Israel to the world map of popular music, and we expect more and more superstar performers to visit in the near future!

The Site is Live Beta

Thursday, 4 September 2008

So what are you waiting for, click here to go straight to the homepage.

http://www.touristisrael.com

Please give us your comments!

New Flights to Tel Aviv

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

This week has started with news that two airlines wish to start flights to Tel Aviv in the next year.

Jet2 to Manchester and Leeds

First off was UK regional low-cost airline Jet2 who, rumours have it, wish to start flying to Tel Aviv from Manchester and Leeds/Bradford. Manchester got its first Tel Aviv last year with Thomsonfly, whilst Leeds/Bradford has never before had a Tel Aviv service. This news is fanstastic, giving those in northern England greater opportunities to travel to and discover Israel.

The length of flights from the UK to Tel Aviv (4 to 5 hours) makes Israel and Tel Aviv in particular a fantastic weekend getaway destination.

US Airways to Philadelphia

The second airline to announce new flights to Tel Aviv were veteran US airline, US Airways who have announced they will begin direct service from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv in July 2009.

Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways said "What's being cut is unprofitable flying in light of ultra high fuel costs. With Philadelphia-to-Tel Aviv we've known the demand is there. We've talked about adding this for quite some time."

This news is incredibly positive, at a time when airlines are cutting back, this signifies that Israel is definetely an up-and-coming cool destination.

Iberia increases capacity

Whilst we're talking about flight increases to Tel Aviv, Spanish airline Iberia announced this week that they too want to cash in on the added demand for Israel services by announcing plans to increase capacity by 13%.

More Italy flights on the way

Meanwhile, in Italy an agreement has been signed to allow more flights between the two countries this week.

Tel Aviv - the city which never sleeps

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The phrase goes, “whilst Jerusalem prays, Tel Aviv plays.”

Israel’s second city is located on the Mediterranean, a city with a savvy attitude and cultural astuteness. “The city which never sleeps”, as Tel Aviv has come to be known for its renowned night life, is also a city of fantastic cuisine, culture, and liberalism. The city’s beaches stretch for miles, whilst many prominent museums, and restored quarters such as the ancient port of Jaffa, arguably the oldest port in the world, Neve Tzedek and the White City UNESCO world heritage site, with its enchanting Bauhaus style buildings make Tel Aviv a city which you can never stop exploring.

Tel Aviv was founded less than 100 years ago, in 1909 as a suburb north of the city of Jaffa, believed to be the oldest port in the world. The suburb grew and grew, and eventually overtook Jaffa in size, merging with it after Israel’s independence to form a single municipality. The city is now the largest Jewish city of modern times, at the heart of the Israeli hi-tech industry known as Silicon Wadi.

Immigrants have come to Tel Aviv from far and wide, bringing with them their own styles of cuisine, culture, and architecture. As such, no matter what you are after, you’ll be sure to find it here. In terms of food, the city has gained a reputation for high quality, and, by European style, lower priced restaurants. So much is this true that the Italian Ministry of Agriculture named the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy in the city. All styles of food are represented here, although a visit isn’t probably complete without sampling the national dish of Israel, falafel.

The cultural scene in Tel Aviv is equally diverse. Museums, theatres, galleries, dance centres, and concert halls are sprawled around the city and Tel Aviv's legendary nightlife just gets better and better.

In 2003, Tel Aviv was designated UNESCO World Heritage Status for its ‘White City’. This is an area around Rothschild Boulevard in the north of the city which has the world’s largest collection of international, or Bauhaus styled buildings. The area has recently been restored and walking tours of the White City take place regularly, whilst the Bauhaus Museum offers an insight into this architectural style brought to the city by German immigrants.

Since the 1980s gentrification has taken place in many of the formerly poor southern neighbourhoods of the city such as Neve Tzedek and Florentin. These more Middle-Eastern style neighbourhoods are at the heart of the city’s nightlife. Other areas to visit are Sheinkin Street and the redeveloped Tel Aviv Port in the north of the city.

The 1990s saw Tel Aviv move into a new era as the hi-tech industry developed around the city, bringing with it new skyscrapers. The tallest of these, the Azrieli Center Circular Tower offers an observation gallery with views across the city.

A visit to Tel Aviv couldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach. Running the length of the city, from north to south, many of the large-chain hotels overlook the promenade. The city also has a selection of smaller, boutique or more modestly priced hotels, generally to European standards.

TouristIsrael.com - Coming Soon

Israel is a fantastic country for tourists and we want everyone to know that!

TouristIsrael.com is currently being developed and will soon go live. The site will give those looking to visit Israel a comprehensive guide showcasing places to go, things to do, see, and hear, as well as some background information, and links to other great sites.

In the mean time, on this blog we will give you a sneak preview of what will soon be coming your way.

By the way if you can help at all, let us know, by emailing at touristisrael@gmail.com.