Eyal Carlin Of The Israel Ministry Of Tourism: “New Normal”

New Normal — Although we all want to resume normalcy, normalcy as we know it is now covid adapted. Travelers are going to seek out opportunities to travel with more personal space and experience more outdoor activities. We’re fortunate that Israel naturally has those experiences within to allow for maximum space like countless national parks throughout the […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

New Normal — Although we all want to resume normalcy, normalcy as we know it is now covid adapted. Travelers are going to seek out opportunities to travel with more personal space and experience more outdoor activities. We’re fortunate that Israel naturally has those experiences within to allow for maximum space like countless national parks throughout the country, as well as thrilling outdoor experiences like rappelling, scuba diving, bird watching and more.


As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eyal Carlin.

Eyal Carlin is Israel’s Tourism Commissioner to North America. Heading marketing and business development initiatives for tourism promotion to the State of Israel, he oversees five government tourism offices across North America.

Eyal worked in Israel’s renowned Pharmaceutical and High-Tech industries before joining the Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) in 2010. Prior to his appointment as Tourism Commissioner to North America, Eyal served as the Director of IMOT’s Southern United States Region, Director of the Americas Department in IMOT’s headquarters in Jerusalem, and Senior Head of the Overseas Division, also in Jerusalem.

Eyal holds a BA in Economics and Philosophy (cum laude) from Tel Aviv University, and an MA in Talmudic Studies and Hebrew Philology from Hebrew University.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started my professional career in Israeli high-tech and pharmaceuticals, however in doing so, I realized I wanted a career that had a greater good involved. I just so happened to see an ad in the paper one day that the Israel Ministry of Tourism was looking for someone to handle their overseas marketing, and I thought that working for Israel’s tourism board would be my perfect opportunity to do something that helps the greater good and the success of so many Israeli people and businesses.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Working for Israel’s tourism board brings so many new and interesting opportunities to generate excitement around travel. Israel has hosted many high-caliber events over the years. Before Covid, Israel hosted a stage of the Giro d’Italia — this was the first time any segment of the race was held outside of Italy. We also hosted the annual conference of the American Society for Travel Advisors (ASTA) and we have welcomed many celebrities to Israel, including Neil Patrick Harris, where he served as our 2019 Tel Aviv Pride Ambassador.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started with the Israel Ministry of Tourism, I had moved from my home in Israel to work in Atlanta, Georgia, and when I first arrived, the nuances of the culture were so foreign to me. In some of my first meetings I underestimated the importance of conversations with colleagues before meetings — as an Israeli I’m used to getting straight to the point, so I always thought meetings were going to be straight to the point. It took me a few months to align myself with how I was going to prepare and plan. This was a huge learning experience for me, teaching me that these pre-meeting conversations allowed me to get to know my colleagues better and it is something that I have kept with me, even when I return to Israel.

I’ve also learned from this experience that I am much more patient in traffic after living in Atlanta (especially after years of sitting in traffic in Tel Aviv)!

What tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

As a tourism commissioner, it is very easy to burn out quickly because it’s a 24-hour job. It is so important to know when you need to take a step back and take a breath. Like many Israelis, I love to travel so I make a point to travel not only for work but also for my own enjoyment — this also energizes me and fuels me with new ideas in my job. In Israel we also have our Sabbath, from sundown on Friday until just after sunset on Saturday. This is a time when the entire country slows down and I keep this close at heart, wherever I am for my job, allowing me to take a break and be with family.

Additionally, I think the best part of our industry is that it’s all about the people you work with — every day is a new day, full of diversity and excitement. My recommendation is to always try and find new people to meet and interact with, that way you learn new things and have the ability to diversify what you do in your day.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

When I first moved to Atlanta, the Tourism Commissioner that was in place at the time came off a bit overbearing. He would call me every day and check in on what I was doing, but in the long run, this really turned into an important learning experience for me. He ended up mentoring me and guiding me into the position which ultimately helped me get to where I am today. With time I really learned to appreciate his feedback and guidance he taught me. There is nothing quite as valuable as experience, and I appreciated him bestowing his onto me.

Jumping into the core of the discussion — Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

Over the last few years, our focus has been digital. Our main objective is to bring marketing directly to our key audiences. In travel and in travel marketing, we decided our best way to target these audiences is to go where these people are, which is their mobile devices and personal technology, so our goal is find new and different ways to integrate our messaging into these devices.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

At the Ministry of Tourism, we aim change the perception of this iconic destination — traveling to Israel for leisure seemed more “out of the norm” since it is so significant religiously. However, we want to turn the medium into the message by interacting with our key audiences through integrating ourselves into how they utilize their free time, resulting in an opportunity to position Israel as a new and different way to enjoy leisure time as well.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

Ultimately, this will allow us to introduce more consumer options and more options in targeting new travelers to Israel.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

Flexibility — Everyone in the travel industry, from airlines, hotels, travel agents, to even travelers themselves, have learned the importance of travel flexibility during these times, and moving forward, travelers are going to want to have the ability to change or postpone their trips when needed.

Blunt Travel — As we emerge from the pandemic, people are not going to hold back on traveling to the destinations they have been dreaming about. After more than a year of this new normal, travelers are fearful if they don’t take that one big trip as soon as possible, they may miss out, so they are going after their bucket list destinations, and as a tourism board this is our opportunity to encourage travelers to visit Israel and not wait.

New Normal — Although we all want to resume normalcy, normalcy as we know it is now covid adapted. Travelers are going to seek out opportunities to travel with more personal space and experience more outdoor activities. We’re fortunate that Israel naturally has those experiences within to allow for maximum space like countless national parks throughout the country, as well as thrilling outdoor experiences like rappelling, scuba diving, bird watching and more.

Unique Experiences — Because people understand that some of the biggest tourist attractions around the world are always going to be quite crowded with observers, we were able to take this opportunity to showcase some more off the beaten path spots throughout Israel where travelers can explore the undiscovered. Israel has always had these spots, but now is an optimal time to put them in the spotlight.

Innovation — There’s an expression I really like, and I think is very appropriate for the Israeli mindset — necessity is the mother of invention. Israel is a very innovative country. We’re known globally as a “startup nation” because of the many innovative, life-sustaining and life-saving innovations Israelis have made (being the leader on everything from drip irrigation and desalination to creating apps like Waze and products that reduce plastic waste like Sodastream). Since the world temporarily shut down, many Israelis (after sitting on the couch like everyone else) became inspired to start new businesses or adapt from in-person only events and classes to creatively engaging people to join them online. Amazingly, many businesses flourished due to their quick adaptability. And interestingly, while no one was able to travel, many people within the travel industry in Israel found online ways to reach perspective travelers and connect with them, allowing them to develop personal relationships before they even visit the country, maintaining the relationship on a long-term level.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

For me, my perfect vacation is always in relation to the one I am currently on. For example, if my current trip I’m out in nature, my next would likely be urban. I can’t zero in on a perfect vacation, but it is always in contrast to my current vacation, and usually includes what I don’t have in my current trip.

Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

The ability to help the overall greater good is what prompted me to apply to my first job with Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. Pre-covid Israel was experiencing a massive travel boom, bringing prosperity to so many businesses, big and small throughout Israel, and now even during covid, through our relationships with travel trades in the United States we have been able to help Israeli businesses stay afloat with advance bookings in hopes they can bounce back faster and come back as strong as ever.

You are a person of great influence — If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Israel is such a remarkable country, and it truly has something for everyone — whether you’re interested in religion, culture, food or adventure, beaches, museums, or night clubs (I could go on and on) — Israel will not disappoint. As I mentioned earlier, through this career path my hope is to help support and even advance Israeli businesses — from wine makers and hoteliers to chefs and artisans — and help them flourish, because they are truly one of a kind. My movement would be to share Israel with as many people as possible because I believe that the experiences people have had and will have helps to enhance their lives, both tourists and locals alike.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.