Learn about the vetting process for including travel journalists on hosted trips to Isreal, and what a journalist can expect when going on a fully paid hosted media trip with the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

About today’s guest, Dana Shemesh: Dana is the PR and Communications Director for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, where she handles PR and communications for 11 southern states in the U.S.  She regularly engages with journalists, celebrities, influencers and various media outlets at both local and regional events and conferences. She also recruits media candidates for various hosting opportunities in Israel throughout the year. Before her position with the Israel Ministry of Tourism, she was a journalist with CNN. She is originally from Tel Aviv, and currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and two boys.

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BITW 152: How Travel Writer’s Can Work With The Israel Ministry of Tourism with Dana Shemesh 

Listen to today’s episode to learn about Dana’s job which entails working with journalists, celebrities, influencers and various media outlets at both local and regional events and conferences and you also recruit media candidates for various hosting opportunities in Israel throughout the year.

About the Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT): this is Israel’s national tourism agency responsible for planning and implementing marketing and promotional initiatives to position Israel as a preferred travel destination. IMOT aims to increase tourism traffic to contribute to Israel’s economy and to enhance and diversify the visiting experience. IMOT works to promote Israel’s impressive assortment of historical, cultural, culinary and religious attractions – each the perfect blend of tradition and modernity. IMOT offices in North America are located in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Toronto.

Dana Shemesh: the PR and Communications Director for the Israel Ministry of Tourism

The Process of Connecting and Landing a Media trip with the Israel Ministry of Tourism

Overview of the Topics in This Episode

Dana shares the ideal Israel itinerary as well as the best way for a content creator to reach out to work with the Israel Ministry of Tourism. Dana shares the information they are looking for from bloggers, writers, and influencers in that first communication including the most important stats and how to pitch a story idea.

We chat about the vetting process for travel journalists on hosted trips. She also explains what a journalist can expect when going on a fully paid hosting with the Israel Ministry of Tourism as well as what is expected of a content creator during a trip for social or other content. We also talk about what is a fair expectation of coverage for a media trip.

My favorite Takeaway

Dana shared her idea for setting Google Alerts for destinations you want to visit to come up with story ideas and pitches. For example, if you are a blogger who focuses on culture and history, you could set a Google alert for “Ancient History Israel” and get notified about any trending stories on this topic. You can then take these ideas and craft them into pitches to visit the destination and/or to publications.

10 Questions from the Travel Writer’s Academy & Aspiring Travel Writer Facebook group:

Below find some of the main talking points of my conversation with Dana as well as some questions from fellow travel bloggers about media trips and traveling to Israel.

1. Diana Skara Becevello with Diana’s Healthy Living asked what the Israel Ministry of Tourism initiatives for 2020 – is there something specific you are looking to promote or just travel to Israel in general?

Related Post: Croatia Advent Market & Winter Media Trip Review with Diana Skara Becevello

2. Kristin Montgomery with Growing Global Citizens  asked what type of travelers tend to travel to Israel and do you seek out smaller niche travel bloggers or are you more concerned about getting general travel bloggers with larger audiences? 

3. Charles McCool with McCool Travel has a similar question & wants to know How do you determine the viability of anticipated coverage? We all know (I hope) that vanity stats and numbers are NOT influential while captive engaged audiences are. So how does a major brand assess that?

4. Tanya Hammer Shelburne from Traveling Tanya wanted to know how many pitches from travel bloggers/writers they receive and what percentage do they respond to and then work with? 

5. Nicole Bergstrom with Nicole the Travel Scribe asked: What is your percentage of female solo travelers, and what are you offering as an incentive to draw in more of this demographic?

6. Rachel Heller from Rachel’s Ruminations wanted to know

  • Why are so many travel boards so focused on Instagram when nano and microblogs offer so much more value for money? 
  • What answer(s) would you give to the perpetual “I won’t travel there because it’s not safe” concerns?  

7. Kalyan Panja with Travtasy asked: how do you intend to build close relationships with journalists to show the positive aspects of Israel globally to attract the attention of the tourists to this region?

8. Ivan Tannenberg from Mind the Travel has really interesting question and wants to know: What do you think was the biggest issue affecting the tourism industry in Israel and travel-related businesses in 2019?  

9. Rina Baraz Nehdar from LAFamilyTravel.com asked:  I‘m interested with all the violence against Israelis & if that’s something they’re concerned about when they vet journalists. Do they run criminal checks? If so, how do they get that information from foreign countries?

10. Jamie Italiane-Decubellis from The Daily Adventures of Me wanted to know if there is an age range the tourism board is targeting? Are you trying to encourage tourism of any certain religion? 

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