Tourism is booming in Tel Aviv this week with hotels sold out, residents staying with relatives to rent their rooms and apartments for inflated rates – and almost every rate is accepted. Tel Aviv in Israel is known to be the place to party, to enjoy some of the best beaches and the best food in the world, and now the city is the center of the European Music world – Eurovision.
Currently, more than 10,000 tourists are in Tel Aviv for the ongoing Eurovision song contest. Downtown Tel Aviv was bustling with a Eurovision vibe. 7280 spectators are able to get into the Expo Tel Aviv and the new Pavilion 2, which is the arena for Eurovision 2019.
The slogan for Eurovision 2019 is Dare to Dream, and the total budget for the contest is estimated to €28.5 million. Israel is hosting the Eurovision contest after local singer Netta Barzilai won last year. The winning country customarily hosts the following year.
The show is the world’s biggest live music event and is hugely popular with younger viewers. Eurovision says in 42 markets, the contest was four times more popular with 15-24-year-olds than the average show.
Embracing diversity is a sentiment that resonates with LGBT fans, who make up such a large part of the Eurovision community.
Notable moments in the contest’s 64-year-history include drag queen Conchita’s win in 2014 and Dana International, a transgender singer, winning for Israel in 1998 with her song Diva.
Last year, Ireland’s performance included two men dancing as a couple, which led to censorship in China.
The controversy this year could come from Iceland’s entry Hatari, with their BDSM-inspired outfits of leather, spikes and PVC – and their claim that “every act needs a gimp”.
Eurovision rules say acts need to be strictly non-political during their performances, but Tel Aviv is proving a controversial host because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The venue has prompted calls for a boycott by pro-Palestinian activists who want companies, performers and governments to disengage from Israel. There was not much of a boycott atmosphere in the city that never sleeps last night.
Pop superstar Madonna has defended her decision to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel this week, saying that she will always speak up to defend human rights and hopes to see “a new path towards peace”.
60-year-old Madonna will make a guest appearance on Saturday during the Eurovision finals in Tel Aviv.
The popular Eurovision competition features musicians from more than 40 nations and was watched last year by some 189 million viewers in around 50 European countries.
There are 41 countries participating
41 countries will participate at Eurovision Song Contest 2019: