Israel is a country of conferences and congresses too. We might even say that the first convention in the land of Israel took place some 3000 years ago, when, as the Bible relates (I Kings: 8, 1-2), “King Solomon summoned to his presence in Jerusalem, the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families.”
Israel has developed quite a bit since those ancient times, and large, important congresses and conventions in Jerusalem have been hosted royally in the country, at the ICC Jerusalem - International Convention Centre, the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Centre Tel Aviv and in hotels with congress & convention facilities that are as modern as those in most any hotel in the world.
Not too many years ago, the annual survey of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) ranked Jerusalem in 5th place - and 1st from among all non-European cities - on the list of cities hosting international congresses and conventions. This was due in very large measure to the ICC Jerusalem’s marvellous facilities. Israel as a whole ranked 25th on ICCA’s list of 65 countries that held international congresses and conventions then. Now, when visitors from all over the world are discovering Israel once again as a viable and exciting tourism destination, organizers of international meetings and gatherings are certain to follow suit, offering their clients and members a unique and exciting tourism destination that can also supply them with everything they need to hold successful deliberations and also have an enjoyable and meaningful stay.
Israel’s first international event in modern times was staged about 50 years ago, Since then, the country’s convention industry has been striding forward with dedication and foresight, developing a sophisticated and manifold infrastructure for meetings and conventions.
The ICC Jerusalem Conventions Centre, which was upgraded recently, is Israel’s largest convention centre, housing nearly 30 meeting halls of diverse dimensions, suitable for the requirements of conferences hosting anywhere from 100 to 10,000 participants. This unique flexibility imbues each and every gathering with the same sense of focus and fulfilment of purpose.
The ICC Jerusalem offers the highest quality of technical equipment - amplification and lighting; excellently equipped translation booths, and whatever else may be required, including video conferencing and computerized presentations. Press rooms linked to all corners of the world by means of advanced computer systems, permit international video conferences and direct access to all major television networks.
The Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Centre Tel Aviv, which was renovated and expanded a few short years ago, spans an area of more than 75 acres, of which 25,000 square meters are exhibition space. Approximately 15,000 square meters of the centre's exhibit centre are under cover and are divided up into 10 air-conditioned halls of different sizes, complemented by 40,000 square meters of outdoor exhibition space on the lush green-grassed areas. The combination of modern buildings on the one hand and the open exhibition areas on the other gives the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Centre a different and special appearance in the exhibitions and events industry and imbues the venue with a pastoral and unique atmosphere.
The International Conventions Centre Haifa, a facility about 13 years old, is located at the southern entrance to the city. In addition to the thousands of square meters it offers of open spaces and modern halls, suited for conventions, exhibits and similar events, it features a central logistical system for technical support on a high professional level.
Aside from these major complexes, meetings and convention facilities exist in major tourism centres all over Israel, either as facilities standing in their own right, or as part of hotels, educational centres and convention complexes - and often with the cooperation of a number of facilities situated within a short distance from one another, for extremely large events - designed and equipped to meet just about every need. Excellent hotel facilities for conventions large and small can be found in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat in particular. In other areas of the country too, such as in the Dead Sea region and in the Galilee, modern facilities exist for large gathering and these have been held there for many years.
Acknowledging the importance of the convention industry to Israel and to their own well-being, most of Israel's major hotels have been built with convention and congress facilities which meet the recommendations of IAPCO (the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers). Many veteran hotels in the country have made the enlarging and upgrading of meeting facilities a focal point of their renovations programs in recent times.