Karen Goren Perry.
by Aristide Malnati
“Ready go!. Everything is now ready for the restart. And the very first results are encouraging: from 21 May, the day on which Israel can be freely entered (no tampon, much less isolation, just the passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of release, ed), tourists are returning. And from Italy they are very numerous, much more than in the same period in 2019, the last year before the pandemic “. Karen Goren Perry, Director of the Israeli Tourism Office in Italy (based in Milan), uses triumphal tones in announcing the full sprint of the tourist flow towards the Jewish state.
What kind of tourism do you expect?
Obviously, first of all, we expect a considerable arrival of pilgrims, direct, as it is easy to imagine, to Jerusalem, which for the three great monotheisms has a central and irreplaceable value of faith and history. But they are also interested – mainly because they are pilgrims of the Christian religion – in visiting the main places where Jesus was preached on earth. In Israel the stones speak and are a living testimony of the Gospel story: Nazareth, the Jordan River (with the place of Baptism), Magdala, Sefforis, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, the Mount of Beatitudes, in addition to the old city of Jerusalem, offer still intact vestiges, the eternal voice of a two-thousand-year-old Faith. And this is the strength of our tourist offer. But there is also more, much more.
A few examples?
We focus a lot on nature and sport in scenarios of incomparable beauty. Trekking in the Negev desert or among the rocky heights of the Judah desert allows you to live breathtaking experiences. And to go back in time, coming to imagine the retired life that the Essenes and then the monks of the desert did more than 2000 years ago. An extreme experience that can also be done on a mountain bike, along cycle paths overlooking the Dead Sea, with a final reward.
Well, those who venture among the spurs not far from the southern limit of the Dead Sea, including the Rock of Masada, a still perfectly preserved symbol of the heroic Jewish resistance against the Roman X Legion (70 AD), can then relax in the Centers. well-being and in the well-equipped SPAs nearby. Here the most refined aesthetic treatments and above all therapies against some skin diseases are practiced in the presence of qualified doctors.
Israel is also a young country, attracting a growing youth tourism. Is that so?
It’s correct. We are verifying this with the early summer parties in Tel Aviv, which see young and very young people from all over the world converge, maybe even just for the weekend. Here is Tel aviv never sleeps: it is now seriously competing with world nightlife temples, such as Ibiza and Mykonos, but it is much more. Yaffa, an artists’ district located south of the city, is a small Montmartre, home to experiments between painting and sculpture. And then great attention to niches. An example above all? Tel Aviv is the city in the world with the highest number of vegan restaurants in relation to the population. Even more than in New York. New protected environmental areas are springing up, promoting wild and unspoiled nature; just as the archaeological discoveries of great appeal and therefore of great tourist value are continuous. Two examples above all: the restoration and study of the flooring of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, the most important monument of Christianity, began last March. The first results already allow us to reconstruct its history, starting from the early Byzantine period. And then the Templar fortress in San Giovanni d’Acri: recent archaeological excavations have identified the base of the watchtower where the fabulous treasure of the Templars was probably kept. Israel is an open-air museum that daily adds precious pieces to the mosaic of human history.