Arie Oshri, an Israeli drag queen residing in Berlin, is scheduled take part in the world’s largest tourism fair. It is to be held in Berlin next week, and Oshri will be there to promote LGBT tourism to Tel Aviv, specifically ahead of LGBT Pride Week in June.
Oshri’s participation came about through a partnership with the Tel Aviv Municipality and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, with the goal of kicking off the upcoming event.
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Every year, the Ministry of Tourism brainstorms ideas for how to make an impression at the fair and make sure participants stop by the Israeli pavilion and see the various attractions Israel has to offer.
Last year, the ministry brought along two Israeli chefs who made shakshuka for the participants. This year will include “hummus beer”.
Oshri told Ynet that he has worked with these organizations before and is very excited for the fair.
“I’m really proud of the choice (by the ministry) and am happy that this is finally happening. I am full of respect for the people working behind the scenes, but when it comes to marketing, they need
a colorful and interesting visual character. Tel Aviv has a lot to offer the gay crowd, and they are beginning to understand this in Israel.”
What are you going to do at the fair?
“Unfortunately, there won’t be anywhere to put on a show there, so what we’ll do is more raising interest for the Tel Aviv booth at the Israeli pavilion, and bring color, glamor, humor, and my knowledge of my former city. I’m very involved what goes on in Tel Aviv, and will come to the pride parade in Israel this year as well, with a group of German tourists.”
Does this go well with politics, calls for a boycott, and anti-Israel acts around the world?
“I’m not here to talk about politics, just topics from the LGBT world, and gay rights in Israel. I think that Israel is in a very good place, especially for the Middle East, as the only state in which it’s legal to be gay. The Germans really like the political thing but that’s really not my interest. I’m coming to talk about Tel Aviv, the pride parade, and that’s it.”
The ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) tourism trade fair is set to open on Wednesday, March 9, with about 11, 000 representatives from 180 countries. Roughly 180, 000 people are expected to visit the fair, including workers in the tourism industry, journalists, and the public. The Israeli delegation is to include about 180 hoteliers, travel agents, Tourism Ministry employees, airlines, and the directors of tourism boards and of tourist sites in Israel.
According to Amir Halevi, director of the Tourism Ministry, the Israeli pavilion will be a compelling attraction, with street theater actors, a photo station, and portrait sketchers.
The Tel Aviv Pride Parade is set to be held on the first weekend of June and is expected to draw thousands of tourists. A senior figure in the tourism branch said that LGBT tourism is the most stable type of tourism in the world. Security and economic factors affect it less than family tourism.