Ami Allon,Consul, Director for Canada Israel Ministry of Tourism & Open Jaw's Nina Slawek
Uri Steinberg addresses the crowd
Having attended a number of
events over the last couple of decades in this meal obsessed business–
breakfasts, lunches, dinners, cocktails – I can attest to the fact that breaking bread over the
departure of a tourism official rarely raises much emotion. “Lovely to have met
you. Really like you. Buh bye now.”
Then there’s the aptly named Ami Allon, Director for Canada,
Israel Ministry of Tourism. Friend to each, admired by all. The genuine
outpouring of affection was palpable among the gathered crowd at a recent farewell breakfast in Toronto. (Even the scary
guys in suits with earpieces were smiling.)
One of the primary reasons Ami elicits such positive reactions is the openness
he brings to business and personal interactions. “It’s been a tough year. We
are down 12% from 2014 and we have to work smarter,” Allon told us. There was no sugar-coating the fact that world affairs are having an impact on the destination.
The focus for 2015/16 will therefore be on a more targeted faith based audience and on educating travel agent partners on how to sell the destination.
Allon's long time friend and boss, Uri Steinberg, Consul & Commissioner for North America,
flew up from New York for the event and also provided a surprisingly candid perspective on tourism to Israel. "We have to start using the "s" word in our communication with consumers." The 's' word being 'safety'. And of course, fear. "We will be launching a revolutionary campaign which will talk about the big elephant in the room. In a clever way."
In talking about the gentle giraffe in the room, Steinberg was effusive. "Ami, you are great. Besides your consummate professionalism, you showed the kinder side of Israel with your empathy and ability to listen."
There was also hearty applause and recognition of the valued contribution of long time local emplyees Ellen Melman and Communications Director, Jerry Adler.