One of Israel's largest industries has always been tourism, and the nation has constantly been looking for ways to boost the number of annual visitors. The traditional approach has been to broaden Israel's appeal to Jewish and Christian pilgrims. But Tel Aviv and the Ministry of Tourism have also embarked an a very different campaign: attracting the openly gay community.
According to Ynet, the Tel Aviv Municipality and the Ministry of Tourism have invested a combined $88 million in a massive advertising campaign in England and Germany aimed at branding Tel Aviv as an international gay vacation destination.
England and Germany have Europe's largest homosexual communities. Israeli tourism officials hope to reach them via television and magazine ads, billboards and active efforts on Internet social networks like Facebook. They also launched a new website, Gay Tel Aviv, to boost awareness of the city as the gay capital of the Mediterranean.
Tourism officials noted that a previous decision to brand Berlin as the gay capital of Europe had significantly boosted tourism to the city, and hoped the Tel Aviv campaign would do the same for Israel.
Tel Aviv has also submitted an official application to host the 2012 International Gay Pride Parade.