For the first time, the city participated in the prestigious IMTM (International Mediterranean Tourism Market) exhibition at the Convention Center in Tel Aviv last week. The exhibition is considered to be the largest annual tourism fair of its kind, and is used to promote domestic tourism and outgoing tourism, as well as to strengthen cooperation between tourist groups in Israel and other places in the world. About 2,000 representatives of airlines, cities in Israel and abroad, hotels, shipping companies and attractions from dozens of countries participated in the fair.
The city’s participation in the exhibition was the result of the thought and planning work of a tourism committee set up for this purpose, headed by council member Shimon Guetta, who holds the tourism portfolio, and with the participation of representatives from the Antiquities Authority, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and various other municipal departments. The concept chosen to present the city at the fair under the slogan, "This is the time to discover," was to present the city on three levels of time - past, present and future. To represent “the past” were the rich historical sites in the city including Givat Titora and the ancient Hasmonean synagogue as well as archaeological finds that were found in the city. To represent “the present” were the leisure attractions in city, including Park Anabe, the Skatepark, which is one of the largest extreme parks in the country, restaurants and cafes, as well as cultural festivals held in the city throughout the year. Representing “the future” was the new city center that is currently under construction, featuring the multi-purpose building, shops, cafes and restaurants, a boutique hotel, a sports and water park, and other plans that will further strengthen the city's status as a tourist city in the coming year. Visitors to the exhibition also received a leaflet containing two possible routes for a trip to the city, one focusing on heritage and nature and a second on urban attractions and nature.