Celebration, optimism as Israel, Greece team up for in-person event
From left to right - Jerry Adler, IMOT’s Deputy Director for Canada, Gal Hana, Consul for Tourism and IMOT’s Director for Canada, and Sofoklis Savvas, Exhibitions & Trade Coordinator, GNTO

Celebration, optimism as Israel, Greece team up for in-person event

TORONTO — The Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization joined forces for last night’s industry event, celebrating these two gems of the Mediterranean with presentations, networking and more.

Taking place at Toronto’s Windsor Arms Hotel, the in-person event was marked by an air of celebration and optimism as Greece and Israel, and the travel industry at large, get ready for plenty of pent-up demand.

Jerry Adler, IMOT’s Deputy Director for Canada, had everyone at the event stand up and give themselves a round of applause. The relief was palpable after two long years of the pandemic, and even though many challenges remain, at least recovery is finally underway.

A key marketing message for Israel, underlining its Mediterranean ties, makes the country a perfect partner for joint promotions with other Mediterranean destinations. In the past IMOT has also partnered with Med tourism boards including Italy and Spain. Israel’s partnerships go east too. Later this month, IMOT will hold another joint event, with Dubai.

But last night it was Greece in the spotlight alongside Israel, and Sofoklis Savvas, Exhibitions & Trade Coordinator with the GNTO, made sure to highlight all the helpful information and assets – including free downloadable images – available at the GNTO’s website, at visitgreece.gr.

Both Greece and Israel have come through the pandemic with strong policies and good vaccination rates.

Greece kicked off its tourist season promotions on March 1, 2022, a month earlier than usual, as it works to make up lost time from the pandemic. Fully vaccinated visitors to Greece don’t need a negative COVID test to enter the country.

Meanwhile Israel is welcoming all tourists, vaccinated and unvaccinated, of all ages with an ease of entry restrictions that took effect March 1.

Gal Hana, Consul for Tourism and Director for Canada’s representative Israel Ministry of Tourism office, says it’s time tourism took a turn in the driver’s seat.

“Travel has been taken for granted for many years,” said Hana at last night’s event. “People didn’t understand the value of travel except that it was fun.”

And the trade hadn’t worked overly hard to reframe travel in a different light, he added. “There was a feeling of comfort in the industry, a sense of, why rock the boat if everything works.”

Now after two years of the pandemic, with its restrictions and worries that kept most of the world home-bound, people have a new and strong appreciation for travel and how it changes people, and can change the world. It’s the perfect opportunity for the travel and tourism sector to get proactive, said Hana.

Meaningful travel can now take centre stage, said Hana. And that includes travel outside the periphery, to lesser-visited destinations, and outside the usual seasonality with a move to year-round travel instead of high season / shoulder season.

“Tourism cannot remain in the passenger seat,” he said. “It has a vision, a purpose. We’ve had two years to think about what are the values we want to promote.”

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