Over the next 3 weeks, Israel will host some 8,300 tourists taking part in the two largest Incentive Trips ever held in Israel. As their name suggests, incentive trips are a common method used by corporations to reward outstanding employees and salespersons. With an average budget of $4,000 per tourist, this form of travel is considered as the “next big thing” of the tourism industry.
Jerusalem was selected to host the trips after contending against other major global cities which vied for the lucrative trips. The projected contribution of the trips to Israel’s economy in general and Jerusalem in particular, is more than $20 million, not including the tourists’ spending on air travel. Israel’s capital won the coveted status following great efforts exerted by Jerusalem’s mayor, Moshe Leon and the financial support of the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry.
WSB, one of the world’s largest insurance and financial services companies and subsidiary of Transamerica organized the first and largest trip. Next week, WSB will bring 4964 salespersons for six nights in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Mexican cosmetics and nutrition supplements giant, Omnilife, will bring 3,300 employees and salespersons for a six-night stay in Jerusalem alone. The two groups will stay at 32 hotels, travel with 140 guided buses and will keep hydrated with 70,000 bottles of mineral water.
Incentive travel is the fastest growing and most lucrative segment of the tourism industry, even more than conference tourism. 2018 saw an increase of 71% over 2017, whereas 2017 grew by 54% over the previous year. Some of the reasons behind the impressive growth include the high level of accommodation and ground services provided to participants, and the hassle-free experience for the tourists, who are left with significant funds to spend and boost the local economy.
The upcoming tours will also offer three rounds of gala events on September 15, 18 and 19. The Hinom Valley Park will be transformed into a replication of Kind David’s palace as part of a high profile, $2 million production of Super Push. Israel Airport Authority, the Immigration Authority and Security forces are also preparing to ensure a smooth reception for the guests.
Moshe Leon, Jerusalem’s mayor, said: “Increasing the number of tourists visiting Jerusalem is one of the City’s stated goals. Incentive trips play a major role in attracting tourism to Jerusalem and boosting its economy. We are unrelenting in our efforts to promote Jerusalem as a conference and tourism destination, including the construction of more hotel rooms to provide the best tourism experience”.
Incentive tips turned $60 billion in 2018. American companies account for 50% of the trips, European companies for 20% and the balance originates from Asian and South American companies. Some 100 incentive trips of different companies will arrive in Israel during 2019.
The outlook for 2020 and 2021 is encouraging with numerous groups expected to arrive in Israel from the USA, Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, and more.