The Israel Ministry of Tourism is launching an ad campaign featuring actual first-time tourists to Israel who are chronicled exploring the country's most popular sites.
The ministry conducted a reality TV-style nationwide search to identify and send American travelers who had always wanted to go to Israel.
A family of four from Texas and a couple from New York were chosen from the nearly 600 applications from around the world to go to Israel for 14 days, making stops in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Galilee, Golan Heights and Negev, all the while sharing their daily experiences through updates, videos and photographs.
Themed "Come Find the Israel in You," the campaign will eventually include TV and print. For now, it starts with social media as the two trips are chronicled by the winners on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It was conceived and created by Bodden Partners.
The Kinzy family is chronicling their trip at www.Twitter.com/ KinzyIsrael and www.Facebook.com/KinzysIsrael, while the New York couple, Caitlin McNamara and Arthur Rollin, are using www.Twitter.com/AllOverIsrael and www.Facebook.com/CaitlinandArthurinIsrael to share their travel experiences.
Caitlin writes on Facebook: "Israel gives us a chance to enjoy a lot of the things we like best, food, the beach, and travel. Arthur is an architect working on historical preservation so the Bauhaus buildings all over Tel Aviv are great to see, and I'm looking forward to going kayaking in the Mediterranean and mountain biking in the desert."
The campaign highlights Israel as "a sophisticated travel destination" with "diverse landscape and tourism attractions," says Haim Gutin, Israel commissioner for tourism, North and South America.