Portsmouth rallies the support of Israel tourist official

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By Miles O’Leary: The Portsmouth News

AN INTERNATIONAL tourist advisor has vowed to help make Portsmouth a prime destination for foreign holidaymakers.

Danny Ronen, director of tourism in Haifa, Israel, which is Portsmouth’s sister city, showed his support during a visit to the council’s headquarters yesterday.

He raised awareness of the links between both regions and helped tourist officials get in contact with Israeli tourist board operators which can boost Portsmouth’s profile abroad.

It’s hoped the move will attract investment and encourage hotel chains to offer tourists the option of staying in Portsmouth for a night or two while they are visiting popular destinations elsewhere.

Mr Ronen said: ‘The purpose of the visit was to improve the connection with the tourist boards of Haifa and Portsmouth.

‘Portsmouth is very similar to Haifa in that it is a harbour town as well that is facing the same tourist development issues.

‘Portsmouth is not a prime destination for foreign tourists like Haifa, but there is a way we can change that.

‘One of the ways we can help is to help the tourist board of Portsmouth get in contact with Israeli tourist operators. I can help them in the Israeli market.’

Mr Ronen said around 70 per cent of foreign tourists visit the UK, and they are often inclined to visit places like London and Oxford.

Mr Ronen’s visit was organised by The Haifa-Portsmouth Friendship Link Committee.

Later in the day he visited the Spinnaker Tower before leaving.

Alex Bentley, chairman of The Haifa-Portsmouth Friendship Link Committee, said: ‘I have spent the last 15 years trying to promote Portsmouth as a place for tourists to stay. This is about bringing investment to the city.’

Jane Singh, the council’s visitor services and development manager, said: ‘It’s always good to share ideas about different things. We have been doing quite similar things in different countries.’