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J’lem Development Authority backs innovation to changing city’s image

“Jerusalem has undergone a massive image makeover in the past 10 years,” said Jerusalem Development Authority director of tourism, Ilanit Melchior.

In her speech at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, Melchior spoke of a city in a dire situation in the aftermath of the Second Intifada. She spoke of a city bereft of international investment and an undesirable destination for domestic and international tourism.“Ten years ago, young people would leave the city. Businesses would start here and exit to Tel Aviv or New York,” she lamented.

It was a five-year plan and implementing a revolutionary approach to tourism that helped change things around dramatically.

Today, tourism is skyrocketing and businesses are flocking to the city.

But, unfortunately, for many European cities, they are suffering a similar fate like Jerusalem of yesteryear due to ISIS terror attacks throughout the continent.

“Several cities are suffering from security threats. Whether it’s Brussels, Barcelona or Paris, there’s already a framework and narrative that they’re not controlling and they have to work to change this negative perception,” she said.In Jerusalem, JDA along with former mayor Nir Barkat felt strongly that when it comes to terror, the show must go on.

That means in the aftermath of a terror attack, events go on as scheduled, citizens are encouraged to go back to their normal routine, and the city must take control of its own narrative in social and conventional media.

“An image of a city or country is crucial. Don’t take it for granted that you are doomed to a certain situation,” were her concluding words of advice to cities interested in following Jerusalem’s innovative footsteps.

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