ICC Jerusalem

ICC Jerusalem To Be The largest Conference Center in the Middle East

There are less than 100 days until the opening of one of the world’s greatest events – the Eurovision, the European Song Contest, which lands this year in Israel.

This event, which will reach more than 300 million people throughout the world, is expected to bring tens of thousands of tourists to Israel. They will enjoy a wide variety of cultural and historic sites, will be staying at hotels, spending time at restaurants and pubs and will leave millions of dollars in Israel.

This is not the first time that Israel has been selected to host the event, in fact it’s the third time. The competition was hosted the first two times at ICC Jerusalem and gave Israel exceptional positive exposure throughout the world and solidified its place as a preferred location for holding large international events.

The extensive work and preparations and the growing excitement among the public about the coming event has also found its way into the annual Israeli International Tourism Exhibition – the IMTM – at which a distinguished panel dedicated a discussion to the question of how to bring more international events and conferences to Israel. Participants in the panel included Amir Halevy, the current Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Mira Altman CEO of ICC Jerusalem, Ilanit Melchior the former Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and who is now responsible for tourism on behalf of the Jerusalem Development Authority, Tamir Dayan CEO of Expo Tel Aviv, Eitan Schwartz CEO of the “World City” Administration, Eyal Halevy CEO of Paragon and Lior Gelfand CEO of Ortra Ltd.

These distinguished panelists discussed the contribution of conference tourism to Israel and the various ways to enhance it. Mrs. Mira Altman, who heads the International Convention Center (ICC Jerusalem), the center that hosted the two previous Eurovision events in Israel, emphasized in her remarks the importance of the establishment of a conference bureau in the city, as practiced in leading conference cities throughout the world.

In 2018 alone, several large international conferences were held at ICC Jerusalem including OurCrowd, the FEBS Medical Conference, a nanotechnology conference, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), AACR – the Cutting Edge of Contemporary Cancer Research, and others from the worlds of high-tech, space and medicine with tens of thousands participants that have an enormous economic impact on the city. As an example, the 13th Ilan Ramon International Space Conference that was held at ICC Jerusalem brought numerous guests to the city who left more than NIS 130 million in their wake.

The rising place of Jerusalem in the world conference scene is the product of intensive strategic work that began almost two decades ago. Until the outbreak of the Second Intifada, which began at the end of the year 2000, Jerusalem had held a record number of significant international conferences and was ranked in fifth place globally. The city has recovered over last several years and has once again become one of the most attractive cities to host large conferences.

In addition to the city’s well-known charms, its wonderful weather and its historic and cultural sites, new factors have been added that have improved its status in this field, the most important being the development of transportation infrastructure leading directly to ICC Jerusalem, which situated at the City Gateway, at the heart of which is a central transportation artery, facing railway and bus stations, enabling every conference goer to reach the city and the conference center directly from Ben Gurion Airport, simply and with maximum convenience.

In the coming months, Jerusalem will take another step up the ranking of global conference venues as it implements a monumental plan to upgrade ICC Jerusalem and turn it into the largest conference center in the Middle East, as Altman revealed to the panel. This ambitious project, which was begun about 10 years ago, is about to provide ICC Jerusalem with an excellent platform of 55,000 m² of exhibition and conference space. The project will also include shopping and hotel areas serving conference guests. This plan has received statutory approval and is now being designed by the Italian firm of Fuksas Architects.

The return of Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular to the head of the international conference tourism table requires very large financial investments. These investments made in Jerusalem, which will bear fruit in the coming years, as well as the Eurovision event this coming May, all point perhaps toward a new era of growth.

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