The tech­no­log­i­cal su­pe­rior as a grand strat­egy

The Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES - • By ITZHAK MASHIAH

In 2019, Ben-Gu­rion Air­port ex­pects to en­ter the “world’s largest air­ports” club, with more than 25 mil­lion pas­sen­gers each year. That club in­cludes all the ma­jor air­ports in the globe. This recog­ni­tion is good news for the Is­raeli econ­omy, as growth of tourism traf­fic is linked di­rectly to strength­en­ing the lo­cal fi­nan­cial sphere.

Any­one fol­low­ing the pro­mo­tional work de­signed to at­tract more vis­i­tors and tourists could not help notic­ing the mas­sive mar­ket­ing ef­forts. Two years ago, the Tourism Min­istry pro­moted a global ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign to en­cour­age in­com­ing tourism to Is­rael. The es­ti­mated value of that cam­paign was NIS 40 m. This in­vest­ment is ben­e­fi­cial be­cause peo­ple world­wide hear all kinds of things about Is­rael and open­ing their minds to the real Is­rael isn’t an easy task. Yet in the past few years the mo­men­tum has been pos­i­tive. More and more peo­ple – even skep­ti­cal ones – are pass­ing through the gates of Ben-Gu­rion. As a re­sult of the cam­paigns, Is­raeli tourism in­creased by 25% in 2017 com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year – and the to­tal na­tional in­come in­creased by NIS 4 b. That same line of me­dia cam­paigns worked in 2018.

So far so good, but bring­ing in an enor­mous amount of tourism with­out grand brand­ing strate­gic ac­tion is like do­ing only half of the work.

An im­me­di­ate in­crease in the num­ber of tourists is great for now – and the num­bers are im­pres­sive – but for the long term, Is­rael needs to adopt a new ap­proach for new stake­hold­ers to see, hear and feel Is­rael.

Na­tion-brand­ing and pro­mot­ing core ideas needs to be de­liv­ered con­stantly and con­sis­tently. To boost the amount of peo­ple vis­it­ing here, we have to ded­i­cate re­sources to shift the pub­lic per­cep­tion. In ad­di­tion to the cul­ture, food, beaches, ho­tels and fun at­trac­tions we usu­ally see pro­moted ev­ery­where, the busi­ness sec­tor and hi-tech in­dus­try should be lever­aged as a great brand­ing ad­van­tage (in higher vol­ume).

We have reached the point that tech­no­log­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity can be used as part of a grand theme and strat­egy. With more than 6,000 ac­tive com­pa­nies and start-ups, 1,000 en­trepreneurs and de­vel­op­ers – we can lever­age that com­mu­nity. Mes­sag­ing the great suc­cess and global con­tri­bu­tion of the Is­raeli tech to all peo­ple who set foot in the land of Is­rael is manda­tory.

There are lots of ways to push this idea through­out mul­ti­ple types of chan­nels and ac­tiv­i­ties, but the first move is to set the hi-tech theme as a na­tional dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing brand­ing value. Af­ter­ward, the magic will hap­pen.

The au­thor is a PhD can­di­date at the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion – Univer­sity of Haifa and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions lec­turer at the Sapir Aca­demic Col­lege.

(Reuters)

BEN-GU­RION AIR­PORT.

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