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Israel Seeking to Change Tourism Image, Official Says

Almost as many American Christians visit Israel as Jews, according to the findings of a recent Louis Harris poll disclosed here by Hanoch Givton, director general of Israel’s Tourism Ministry. The survey showed that “U.S. visitors to Israel in recent years were approximately 45 percent Christian, 51 percent Jewish and four percent undisclosed,” Givton reported. He said they came primarily from the East and Middle West.

Addressing a luncheon sponsored by the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Givton said the poll showed that potential tourists tended to identify Israel “as a rather serious destination, giving us high marks on culture, religion and interesting cities” but “the physical beauty of Israel is generally unknown.” He said the image of Israel as a culturally advanced but “recreationally deprived country” had to be changed. The luncheon he addressed was tendered in honor of Amram Zur, the Tourism Ministry’s North American representative since 1969, who is returning to Israel. He will be succeeded next month by Israel Zuriel.

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