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A more senior-friendly Jerusalem

by michael October 30 2007
Municipal news

Always scheming, the Ministry of Tourism is, about how to get people who aren't your standard Sukkot-visiting American-Orthodox-family-of-six to spend some time and money in the Holy City. After spending some time recently courting Evangelical Christians and the international gay community, a tourist combination which somehow didn't explode on contact, the tourism powers-that-be are now focusing on bringing in the senior citizens. The Jerusalem Post reports:

"Jerusalem represents a major destination for pensioners but the potential of this growing population visiting the city has not yet been realized," the Tourism Ministry said Sunday. "The main reason why pensioners are not coming to Jerusalem are lack of knowledge about Jerusalem, its abundance of attractive sites and the activities available."

According to a survey conducted for the Tourism Ministry, about 50 percent of pensioners (over the age of 65) in Israel, which make up 676,000 people, travel the country on a regular basis, while 180,000 are able to go on a vacation but didn't.

The NIS 200,000 campaign, which starts in November to February 2008, will offer pensioners reduced tour packages tailored for their needs and interests including hotel stays, special night-time events and entertainment activities in addition to the regular sites. The ministry will launch an advertising campaign in the national press this week with details of the vacation packages.

Jerusalemite has a more simple proposal for made Jerusalem attractive to elderly tourists. Repave Ben Yehuda and the alleys of the Old City with some kind of surface that doesn't become an ultra-slick deathtrap when it rains in the winter. Seriously, even young people have trouble contending with the slipperiness of Jerusalem stone in the winter - what about people who might have rheumy joints and bad hips? Increased tourist safety in the Holy City - you heard it on Jerusalemite first. 

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