… to find the answer, 25 event planners from the German-speaking and other European markets set out to explore the destination! Reason was an invitation of the Israel Ministry of Tourism and its department for MICE Marketing, and co-ordinated by tmf dialogue.

One of the parameters for participation was to personally not know the destination and to not yet co-operate with a local partner there – so the group was consisting completely of first-timers, except me – I have spent a year there long time ago (yes, partly in a Kibbuz!) – but that stay was not at all related to the meetings business …

Security check at the Frankfurt Airport was through a separate gate for flights to Israel, but otherwise no delays or particularly complicated processes. Also immigration handling in Tel Aviv/Jaffa Ben Gurion airport was ok. They found a practical solution for possible collisions with immigration rules of other countries: the passports are not directly stamped, but you receive a “ticket” for arrival and one for departure which can be removed again.

Tel Aviv is a busy, buzzing urban centre – strongly growing, lots of construction, lots of traffic – just as everywhere in the world and no particular visibility of army or police, which most in our group had expected to see and were rather surprised about!

It is important to understand, that Israel has a very special expertise with security and safety issues, due to the particular geographic, historic and political situation. Even if you don’t see guards, you can be sure they are there and are very alert. Personally, I felt very safe and trusting in the system, after all, high attention to safety is guaranteed – which is not necessarily the case in other western metropolis.

We all stayed in the Herods Hotels on the beach side (Details and pictures of Hotel here) and met in the evening with our tour guide Revital – who took “control” over the group with immediate effect! The tone might seem a bit rough to many who come first time to the country – but under the sometimes spiky surface there usually is a sweet fruit – hence in-born Israelis are called “Sabres”, like the fruit of the cactus … I felt very much back “home” when realizing that a few things at last have not changed 🙂

What’s up here? Tel Aviv is a city very much liked by young people from around the world – no wonder, the city presents a strongly party-encouraging atmosphere! Everyone is beautiful, cool and cosmopolitan; real estate prices meanwhile are rocket-high and the energetic vibe is visible in all areas of life and work!

We spent the first evening in the only foreign branch of the Swiss restaurant group Bindella Osteria, headed by the family member Christian Bindella, who blends in nicely with the rest of the city! Handsome, cool and cosmopolitain, just as the concept of the restaurant itself! A trendy place, much in demand and serving a tasteful fusion between Italian, Israeli and everything else that is interesting about Mediterranean cuisine!

Tov! (well) – not bad for the first day! See some more info coming up on tmf-dialogue.net!

Johanna Fischer